By Ricardo Ibarra
Photos by Mike Blair/Boxingprospects.net
Undefeated Jr. middleweight Chris “The Truth” Johnson (7-0, 1 KO) scored a lop-sided decision win over Auburn, Washington’s Niko McFarland (4-5-2, 1 KO) on Saturday night at the Salem Armory in Salem, Oregon.
Fighting in one of four pro boxing matchups on the mixed combat sports event staged by Pure Combat, Johnson dominated over five rounds, dropping McFarland twice on his way to securing the unanimous nod from the judges.
Johnson, of Bend, Oregon, boxed effectively out of southpaw stance from the start, setting the range with sharp one-twos and effective lateral movement. He maintained a patient work rate in the first two rounds, keeping McFarland on the defensive.
The Oregonian began to step up his aggression in the third, moving into the pocket with an accurate assault and maneuvering away before McFarland could retaliate. Johnson continued to pepper his opponent with crisp combinations through the fourth round, angling his way in close and unloading with a sustained attack.
In the fifth, Johnson cracked McFarland with a quick flurry in close, sending him down for a count. Another barrage forced McFarland to a knee again late in the round. After the second knockdown, Johnson pounced and appeared to have McFarland in serious trouble, but the round ended before he could inflict any further damage. All three judges scored the fight a shutout for Johnson at 50-43.
Johnson, who had a good number of central Oregon supporters in the crowd, added his fifth win of the year. For McFarland, the loss was his first since June of 2017.
Three additional fights made up the rest of the boxing portion of the card. In a lightweight contest, crowd favorite Lorenzo Caldera (3-0, 2 KOs) claimed a unanimous decision win over the game but outmatched Anthony Zender (1-5). Caldera, a six-foot tall southpaw fighting out of nearby Portland, quickly took advantage of his longer reach, tagging Zender from the outside repeatedly with stiff combinations. Caldera steadily upped his aggression through the middle rounds, slamming his opponent with hard hooks to the head and body. Zender, though, proved to be a tough competitor hanging in and firing back whenever he got the opportunity. Caldera closed out the fight on the attack, connecting with a heavy series of punches. The official tallies read 40-36, all for Caldera, who adds his third win as a professional fighter and his first under a recently signed eight fight deal with promoter Pure Combat.
Portland’s Bryan Sanchez (1-0, 1 KO) made his professional debut in impressive fashion, disposing of Ryan Attebery (0-1) in the first round. Sanchez came out pressing behind his jab and quickly buckled Attebery with a left hook to the body. After a series of follow up body shots pushed Attebery back along the ropes, Sanchez delivered a big over-hand right, sending him to the canvas. Moments later he put him down once again, this time with a one-two, prompting referee Joey Passarella to step in and wave it off at 1:27 of the opening round. The bout took place at 135 lbs.
In the card’s opening boxing contest, Las Vegas resident Nino Delgado (4-0, 2 KOs) took a four round unanimous decision victory over Justin Horsley (0-1), also of Las Vegas. Delgado, who originally hails from Anchorage, Alaska, employed a patient attack early in the fight, stepping in behind quick jabs and following up with right hands. He upped the pressure as the fight went on, moving into the pocket with hard combinations. Landing with accurate shots on a consistent basis, Delgado easily controlled the bout over the four rounds. Down the final stretch of the fight, Delgado went after his opponent, slamming him with a sustained attack. The official scorecards read 40-35 and 40-36 twice, all for Delgado. The bout was contested in the lightweight division.
The remainder of the card was made up of kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and Muay Thai and was streamed on FITE PPV. Plans are underway to stage the next Pure Combat mixed sports event in the area sometime early next year. For more information visit the Pure Combat Facebook page.