ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Roiman Villa was aware of his task taking on rising welterweight and undefeated interim champion Jaron “Boots” Ennis Saturday evening at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Villa, (Rosario, Venezuela) the number one contender vowed all week about stopping Ennis and derailing his plans.
The plan for Ennis, a win and possibly in command of taking on either Terrence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr. for the welterweight titles. Both will fight for the unified titles July 29th in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
And for those viewing the Showtime Championship Boxing telecast, and with a sold-out crowd of Ennis supporters from Philadelphia, it will be a fight to be remembered. Ennis would prevail with a 10th round TKO and Villa had that resilience of a champion.
So many fights over the years at the Boardwalk venue are remembered, including two epics with the late Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward, power and resilience of two fighters always discussed when it pertains to classic battles for supremacy.
This one, though, not the outcome that Villa vowed, will be remembered for the classic punches that both fighters exchanged at various points from the opening bell. In the end, Villa showed why he earned an opportunity to meet Ennis.
Ennis, who dominated the CompuBox stats, including a 164 to 57 edge in power shots, stated his intention to continue to stay active against the top fighters in the star-studded welterweight division that also includes Eimantas Stanionis.
“I want the winner of Errol Spence and Terence Crawford,” said Ennis. “Let’s make it happen. I’ll take on Eimantas Stanionis in a heartbeat. I want to get into the ring one more time before the end of the year to make it three fights. Stanionis, Keith Thurman, Yordenis Ugás (Cuba) all the top guys out there. Let’s make these fights happen.”
However, Ennis had a difficult time disposing of Villa. He could still be a fight away from meeting Crawford or Spence, and if either one decides to move up in weight to 154, then Ennis could have an eventual meeting with Ugás or Thurman, two former title holders in the division.
Regardless, Villa (26-2,24 KO’s) will earn another opportunity. He impressed with the resilience as Ennis (31-0, 28 KO’s) stayed in control from the early rounds and managed to throw the power punches. Villa would not give in to the renowned power punches in the middle rounds thrown from Ennis.
It was rounds three through five where many of those power punches were thrown, but Ennis connected and Villa was hurt in round six with an overhand right. Villa, though, feeling the blows and with his resilience stayed with Ennis and lost some of his stamina.
Post-Fight interview with Jaron “Boots” Ennis in Atlantic City, New Jersey last night 🥊 Ennis defeated Roiman Villa (Rosario, Venezuela) in a 10th Round TKO to improve to 31-0 (28 KO) pic.twitter.com/8q30PblXR2
— Latino Sports (@LatinoSports) July 9, 2023
Ennis said, “I was breaking him down and I came out victorious. I knew he was a tough kid. I just had to be smart and take my time and keep touching and touching and eventually I was going to get him. I was setting him up.”
Because Villa needed medical attention, he was not available for comments in the ring or at the post fight news conference. A valiant effort and fight that will be remembered for his resilience to continue. He trailed on all three judges’ scorecards prior to the stoppage.
But it was a left hand from Ennis, a few hooks, and an ending at 1:27 into the 10th round that put him in command of his destiny.
CO-MAIN EVENTS: The Showtime Premier Boxing Champions event included two highlighted fights that went in different directions.
In the co-main event, middleweight contender Marquis Taylor (15-1-2, 1 KO) scored an early knockdown to a unanimous decision (99-90, 96-93 twice) over the previously unbeaten Yoelvis Gomez (6-1, 5 KOs) after 10 rounds as Taylor was able to blunt Gomez’s power by fighting effectively on the inside.
Plenty of holding from both fighters, but Taylor was consistent in landing the cleaner blows, during the first half of the fight. Gomez, a power puncher, was unable to hurt Taylor despite focusing on power punches throughout the bout.
“I’m frustrated,” said Gomez. “The ref kept getting in the way and wouldn’t let me work in the range I wanted, which was short distance and making Taylor feel me. This is professional boxing, it’s not too much to ask for him to let me go do my job. I’m gonna keep working hard and come back even better. You can count on that…”
Lightweight contender Edwin De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) earned a one-sided unanimous decision over Joseph Adorno (17-3-2, 14 KOs) in 10 rounds. De Los Santos, with his third straight win saw judges score 100-90 twice and 99-91.
“We came prepared to show our boxing skills in this fight tonight and that’s exactly what we did,” said De Los Santos. “The game plan was to keep him at bay and to box him all night and to counter him when he pressed the attack. I wanted to show the boxing world that I have boxing ability. I’m not just a big puncher. I’m a boxer also.”
“The strategy was to box him, but he’s a southpaw and he was hard to figure out,” said Adorno. “He’s the best southpaw I’ve faced. He was well-prepared and knew how to manage the ring.”
De Los Santos (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) used his straight left hand early and often to control the fight against Adorno. His hand and foot speed advantage and southpaw stance put Adorno at a disadvantage to get any momentum. Adorno could not connect with counter hooks that fell short.
“I can’t tell you all the tricks we did in training,” said De Los Santos. “But we did a lot of hills, climbing, swimming, a lot of boxing, sparring. Again, I don’t want to reveal all of the secrets but that’s some of what was done for this fight.”
“Moving down in weight did play into my performance a little, but I really don’t want to make any excuses,” said Adorno, who’s previous four fights came at 140-pounds. “I shouldn’t have taken this fight right away, I should have fought at 137-pounds first. It is what it is though, he was the better man. He did his job.”
De Los Santos had stopped nine of his previous 10 opponents, but showed off his boxing skill and movement over the course of the 10 rounds. His dominance showed up in the punch stats as he out-landed Adorno 144 to 37, including an impressive 63% connect rate on power shots.
With the victory, De Los Santos sent a message about top fighters in the division that include Devin Haney who holds most of the titles.
“I have to just talk to my promoter about what’s next, but I’ll take care of anyone at 135,” said De Los Santos. “I have the potential to be more disciplined and show my boxing skills even more.”
Rich Mancuso: senior writer @Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso.
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