Undefeated junior welterweight Ty Barnett, 15-0-1 (11), notched his 15th professional victory Thursday night in San Jose, CA, stopping Jose Cruz, 12-4-2, (8) in six rounds en route to what he hopes is a title shot in the near future. The matchup was top billing of the five fight card, the year's third installment of the Fight Night At The Tank series and was contested in front of nearly 300 fans.
Barnett, trained by Barry Hunter who also trains the popular Peterson brothers, Anthony and Lamont, was economical behind a stiff jab and a tight guard, while never taking a backwards step. Cruz, a Colombian fighting out of Rochester, New York, took the fight on less than a week's notice but received little sympathy from the Washington DC native Barnett.
The tone of the fight was set in the opening seconds when Barnett came forward with a jab and fired a straight right to the breadbasket of Cruz, a thudding shot that put Cruz on the backfoot from the get-go.
Barnett never let off the gas pedal from there, moving forward behind the jab to deliver offense with his opponent against the ropes. Sporting quick, tight punches while leaving no openings for Cruz in his defense, Barnett began to pile on in the third when he showed off his handspeed with a triple left hook to the body that excited the fans and further exasperated Cruz.
Cruz, on the other hand, had no such luck, with his offense effectively negated by the blocking guard of Barnett, resorted to just moving side to side trying his best to keep out of range of Barnett's power shots. Meanwhile, Barnett continued to take his time, working behind his jab with a continued body attack in an effort to quell the lateral movement of Cruz.
With the fight well under his control and the crowd urging more aggression, Barnett sought out the knockout the crowd clamored for in the sixth. While Cruz remained on his stool until the opening bell, Barnett seemed to read his opponent's body language and subsequently turned up the heat on the fight.
Cruz braved the storm early, covering up on the rope as he took two stiff straight shots to the body before circling off the ropes. Trouble wouldn't be far behind for the Colombian underdog, a lead right hand put Cruz on rubbery legs, a left hook ended the evening as Cruz fell flat on his face and was deemed unfit to continue.
With the stoppage, Barnett earned his 15th win and his 11 stoppage, moving to 15-0-1 while Cruz falls to 12-4-2 (8). Afterward, Barnett and his camp expressed their interest in moving up the ladder and contending for a title by year's end.
Fast rising super bantamweight upstart Rico Ramos, 6-0 (4), continued his winning ways in the semi main event, landing a stoppage of Alvaro Muro, 6-9, (5) in the third of a scheduled six round affair.
Ramos, who was an alternate for the US Boxing team, was impressive yet again after turning pro in March on the Fight Night season opener. Faced with the taller Muro, Ramos focused on the body, particularly with the left hook, and as always punched with pinpoint accuracy and in combination. Muro was more then willing to come forward, which allowed Ramos to time and place his punches effectively off the back foot.
Ironically, Muro's best moment of the fight came just seconds before the end, overcoming what appeared to be a slip but was called a knockdown in the third round. Perhaps catching Ramos napping a bit, Muro snuck in a straight right that caught Ramos clean on the head. Ramos responded with a smile and then moved forward with Muro's back to ropes and put a left hook and left uppercut together to send Muro to his knees and secured yet another impressive victory.
In the most exciting fight of the evening, crowd favorite Jason Peterson, 2-1 (1), dropped his first fight as a pro when he fell victim to Gabriel Gill, 4-1 (2), in the fourth round of their super middleweight matchup.
After an opening round consisting of little more then both men jabbing in the center of the ring, Gil opened up in the second, scoring a right hand that hurt the taller, lankier Peterson and pressed on until Peterson took a knee. Peterson rallied well in the third, but was still a target for Gil's right hand.
It was the right once again in the final round that put Peterson in trouble. Fighting on borrowed time, Peterson covered up and tried to weather the onslaught of punches from the more musclebound Gil but the referee had seen enough and stopped the bout at 1:45 of the fourth.
Salinas native Eric Garcia, 2-0-1 (1), made a triumphant return to the Shark Tank, defeating Marco Arauz, 3-6-2 (1), in the third round of their welterweight contest. Garcia turned pro in the same building in March and fought to a disappointing draw with the hard nosed Marlo Cortez in his pro debut. He would have no such difficulties Thursday night, as Garcia dropped Arauz early with a left hook and imposed his dominance from the outset, dropping him again in the second and third before the ref finally called a halt at 2:45 of the third. The stocky Garcia fought very balanced and was very comfortable in front of a cheering section of family and friends, stamping out the bad memories of the draw prior and earning his first career stoppage.
The opening bout saw Alberto Soto, 1-1, outbox and outmaneuver Juan Topoz, 0-1, of Santa Rosa, who was making his pro debut. Topoz was the aggressor from the very beginning but the southpaw Soto consistently snuck in straight lefts inside of Topoz' wide shots over four entertaining rounds. Topoz had no shortage of fire or determination but simply had no answer for the left hand and fell 40-36 on all cards.
Paid attendance for the event was 2,793 and the Fight Night At The Tank season wraps up on November 22.