DAZN Double Upset! Sandor Martin Shocks Mikey Garcia, Gonzalez Wins WBO Split Over Soto

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

Fresno, CA (October 17th, 2021)– The lights went out in the second round of Mikey Garcia’s bout with Sandor Martin. By the night was over, Garcia was the second major upset victim of the night, on Saturday night, October 16, 2021, with inactivity during the Coronavirus pandemic playing a major part in the inability of world-ranked champions and former champions to overcome ring rust. It happened last weekend when former world super-middleweight champion Julian Williams got upset by a 10 round split decision to Vladimir 24K Hernandez, who had also upset Alfredo Angulo by a 10 round decision in his previous bout.

In the main event of a nine bout televised DAZN card at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California, former World Boxing Council World Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, 40-2 with 30 knockouts, Moreno Valley, California, was upset by 10 round majority decision by southpaw EBU European Super-Lightweight champion Sandor Martin, 39-2 with 13 knockouts, Barcelona, Spain.

The bout went off at welterweight, and Garcia lost for the second time at welterweight in his past three bouts, after 20 months of inactivity. Garcia has fought just seven times in the past eight years, since 2014. Martin has boxed 264 professional rounds to Garcia’s 246, and Martin’s pedigree includes over 100 kickboxing bouts. Martin has been around the block, and Garcia, who does not study footage on his opponents, did not do his homework on this one. The word on Garcia is he was wrong to bypass the super lightweight division to over directly up to 146 pounds welterweight. Garcia should go back down to 135 or 140 pounds where will excel. Garcia looked horrible against Martin, fighting in the wrong weight class.

Garcia’s jab was immediately neutralized, as Martin’s counter pawing right hand blocked Garcia’s pawing left hand from the start. Garcia tried to find a place for his powerful right hand, but martin successfully countered Garcia coming in. Martin used the one-two combinations coming off the left-hand feint, with good head movement, supported with sharp body punching.

At some point, it became clear Martin, who began boxing cautiously, was beating Garcia to the punch, counterpunching Garcia the counterpuncher. Mikey continued to test and pressure Martin, who fought off the back foot sticking and moving frequently. There was not enough of a target for Garcia to find. Martin was successfully able to either pivot or back up out of the way after tagging Garcia, moving away from Garcia while landing big shots at the same time.

The rounds of good work by Martin began to pile up down the stretch. Garcia appeared to be waiting for Martin to fold so he could convert one-two punches into powerful combinations, but Martin did not allow Garcia to use the jab to set the combinations up. What would normally be a front foot war became a front hands war, with both combatants parrying away the other combatant’s jabs.

By the middle of the fight, the smart boxing Garcia appeared to be dumbfounded, unable to find an answer to Martin. The pro-Garcia crowd was quiet, this despite Martin being a European fighter fighting with no rooting section owing to Coronavirus travel restrictions from Europe. Garcia did not land anything of consequence. Martin was pulling out of the dangerous punches thrown by Garcia with his chin in the air, yet with a kickboxer’s mentality, he remained fearless, compensating by rapidly moving around the ring.

Garcia tried to pin Martin along the ropes and trap him there to target him, but he lacked the power and speed to keep him there. Martin had total mental concentration, countering the counter puncher with combination in center ring in the second half of the bout, landing accurate counter punches while making Mikey Garcia lunge and miss frequently. Martin was able to work well off the ropes and exchanges, and continued winning the majority of rounds. Martin continued landing the clear punches, countering solidly, while avoiding any punch of consequence ring rusty Garcia could throw or attempted to throw.

Beyond a certain point, Garcia was looking for a knockout, a mentality that could not work against Martin, who created punch angles and focused on winning rounds. Garcia was not doing any kind of quality body work, and Martin was speeding up his game rather than slowing it down in the later rounds. Martin found a place for his overhand left and landed them as punches of consequence, while Garcia landed nothing which attracted the attention of his fan base in the crowd. While Martin did not school Mikey Garcia as he predicted, his confidence level was high enough to outbox Mikey to the point where late in the bout Garcia had appeared to dig himself a hole on the scorecards he could not overcome.

Martin had 38 of 40 fights in his home country of Spain, and was unknown in the United States before this bout. Fighting out of distance range, whenever Martin came in late in the bout, he would tie Garcia up, neutralizing any chance of the body work from Garcia. The ninth round went for Garcia, the tenth for Martin, who continued to move, counter, and hold. Garcia, who started strongly in the first few rounds, simply faded down the stretch, and had no alternate plan of attack when the plan to outwork Martin was nullified. Garcia ended the bout by throwing a furious exchange on Martin with Martin on the ropes, but Martin countered successfully with right hooks.

Martin’s confidence level was high before and during this bout, and Garcia never matched it. Martin came from nowhere to emerge at the world-class level. True, fighters from Europe who are based in Europe are better known over there than over here. Also, when you combine ring rust with the wrong weight class, Garcia was not the shining star at welterweight which he was when he won four world championships in other lower weight classes. As such, Garcia falls short at the welterweight and light-welterweight levels.

Result: Sandor Martin Win Majority Decision 10 Mikey Garcia, Welterweights

Scoring; 95-95 draw. 97-93, 97-93 for Martin. Real Combat Media 97-93 for Martin.

Referee: Gerard White. Brief stoppage in action during round two when lights went out.

In the main preliminary bout to the main event, southpaw Jonathan Gonzalez, 25-3-1 with 14 knockouts, Caguas, Puerto Rico, won an upset 12 round split decision over Elwin Soto, 19-2 with 13 knockouts, Mexicali, Mexico, to win the World Boxing Organisation World Light Flyweight title.

The win did not appear to be an upset. Gonzalez fought the 12 rounds circling left around the edge of the ring throwing left hands, as Soto failed to cut off the ring. Gonzalez was landing his jabs and right hook on the move. Soto continuously held Gonzalez down behind the head. Gonzalez dipped low and clinched frequently. Soto was driving his left shoulder into the chin of Gonzalez. Referee Jack Reiss warned both men after round eight to stop the foul shenanigans. Reiss did not penalize Soto after Soto twisted the arm of Gonzalez during a clinch during the bout. Gonzalez’ lateral movement could have made the viewer dizzy to the point Soto looked like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner, but with no body work present, the coyote was left holding the dynamite.

Result: Jonathan Gonzales Win Split Decision 12 Elwin Soto, Light Flyweights

Gonzalez wins WBO World Light Flyweight title. Referee: Jack Reiss

Scoring: 116-112, 116-112 Gonzalez. 116-112 Soto. Real Combat Media 116-112 Gonzalez.

Both fighters were warned by the referee for fouling in the eighth, Soto again in the ninth.

Marc Castro KO 1 Angel Luna, Super Featherweights (2:43). In an undercard stinker, Fresno 4-0 prospect Castro dropped and stopped 18-1- journeyman Luna in the first round, who appeared flat-footed and was not throwing any punches. Luna, who was knocked out in the first round in his previous bout, has never beaten a fighter with a winning record, which should tell you something. To think Luna once went the eight-round distance with future world champion Tevin Farmer. The prefight Mariachi music introduction, complete with live musicians and dancers, was better than the actual bout!

Brock Jarvis KO 5 Alejandro Frias, Lightweights (2:04). 20-0 Australian prospect Jarvis wins vacant International Boxing Federation Inter-Continental Lightweight title.




Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert is the Head Boxing Correspondent for Real Combat Media Boxing since 2013. Robert is also a photographer and ringside reporter for the RCM Tri State region which includes NJ, NY and PA. Robert conducts exclusive interviews, provides historical boxing articles and provides editorial ringside coverage of major boxing events. You can contact or follow Robert on Facebook and by email at robertbrizel@realcombatmedia.com.