Santiago Franco knew what he was getting into as he stepped into the ring against Nelson’s Elias Martinez.
Franco, a tall fighter who likes to move, was up against Martinez, a stout boxer who can’t be moved. In the end, the unstoppable force just barely beat the unmovable object.
Portland’s Franco defeated Martinez by split decision in the junior C open 165-pound main event of Fight Night 6 on Saturday at the Nelson Rod and Gun Club.
“It was a tough fight. Elias is a good competitor …,” said Franco. “He fought hard but so did I. I gave my heart and so did he. It was a close fight but I got it.”
There was little between the pair in the highlight match of the 12-bout card. Martinez, a 15-year-old fighter coming off a silver-medal performance at nationals last month, gave no ground but had to work to overcome Franco’s reach advantage.
“It went well in some spots but I feel like I made mistakes in other spots,” said Martinez. “I didn’t keep my distance that much. I had to get inside but didn’t leave room to hit him.”
Franco said he’s had similar bouts before, and that his strategy of constant motion sometimes falls flat against fighters like Martinez who are difficult to shake.
“The guy will always keep coming forward and you’ll get tired and it’s just a battle of heart and will and skill,” said Franco. “[Martinez] really showed it.”
Two Nelson Boxing Club fighters won their bouts Saturday.
Max Berkeley seemed energized by the home support in his junior B open 154-pound fight against Portland’s Daniel Calderon. The first round ended with Calderon connecting a right jab to Berkeley’s nose, but the Nelson fighter returned in the second with a climactic punch that separated Calderon from his mouth piece. Berkeley left the ring with a split-decision win.
Nelson’s Stryder Sutton also took home a unanimous decision in a fun junior B open 85-pound bout against Cranbrook’s Connor Ferrier.
The most entertaining fight of the night was between Cranbrook’s Dylan Clark and Portland’s Gustavo Garcia in a spicy youth open bout at 152 pounds.
Clarke used a sizeable reach advantage to keep Garcia at bay, forcing the American to get close with a quick jab. Clarke appeared to annoy Garcia with an ever-present grin and even let out a whoop at one point in the bout. Garcia’s corner meanwhile was incensed with a slap call against its fighter.
Garcia finally found success late in the fight with a body combo that ended with a shot to the head, but Clarke quickly moved him into the ropes with a punch that earned a reaction from the crowd and won him a unanimous decision.
Portland’s Isidro Acosta meanwhile had more success with his speed in a youth open 140-pound fight against Nanaimo’s Jerome Leroy. Acosta used several superb combos and appeared to wind Leroy en route to a unanimous decision.
Earlier, Cranbrook’s Dawson Canning defeated Nelson’s Mason Mackay in a junior B novice 125-pound fight; Cranbrook’s Cody Denunzio won by technical knockout against Revelstoke’s Caden Hedley in a junior C novice 150-pound match; and Portland’s David Calderon won a split decision against Cranbrook’s Ty Kolbeck in a junior C open, 132-pound bout.
Meanwhile in exhibition bouts, Nelson’s Marino Raffo faced Cranbrook’s Cohen Penner (80); Salmon Arm’s Kristin Dyball took on Cranbrook’s Hannah Jung (140); Nelson’s Elwin Langford fought Nanaimo’s Noah Croasdale (135); and Nelson’s Brett Adams boxed Cranbrook’s Nike Blackmore (195).