Hometown boxer Antonio Vargas also wins, runs pro record to 7-0

By Ken Jackson

Sports Editor

The Kissimmee boxing community was treated to a classic title fight Saturday, as the World Boxing Organization brought its 130-pound Super Featherweight championship bout to the Kissimmee Civic Center Saturday.

Masayuki Ito and Christopher Diaz didn’t disappoint, as the two went the 10-round distance before the Japanese fighter posted the upset unanimous decision to win the vacated title.

Photo/Top Rank Boxing
Christopher Diaz (right) lands a punch on Masayuki Ito during Saturday’s WBO Super Featherweight title bout at the Kissimmee Civic Center. Despite that blow, Ito won the 10-round bout by judges’ unanimous decision.

Ito (24-1-1, 12 knockouts) knocked down Diaz (23-1, 15 KOs) in the fourth round, and Diaz showed a bruised and swollen left eye late in the fight.

“I knew that this was going to be a good fight, and I respect Diaz for coming ready to fight,” the Japanese champion, who fought for the first time in the United States Saturday, told Top Rank Boxing. “He is a warrior. This is a dream come true for me. Now, I want bigger fights.”

Said Diaz: “This does not end here. I am going to return with more strength and with more hunger. I have a promise to fulfill. I am going to be a world champion. I promise you that.”

One of the bouts on the undercard had some local flavor beyond the setting, as Kissimmee bantamweight Antonio Vargas ran his professional record to 7-0 with a six-round unanimous decision over Aaron Echeveste (5-3). All three judges scored the fight 60-54, according to Top Rank.

Photo/Top Rank Boxing
Kissimmee’s Antonio Vargas (right) lands a right jab in his match Saturday against Aaron Echeveste, en route to winning by unanimous decision. He’s now 7-0 as a professional fighter.

In what was billed as the event’s co-feature fight, Gabriel “Tito” Bracero (25-3-1), a late replacement for the injured Carlos Adames, also scored the upset and knocked out Artemio Reyes with a body shot in the fifth round of the welterweight bout. Bracero, 37, standing 5-7, held off the taller Reyes before a left hand to the liver sent Reyes to the canvas for the count.

“Even though I came in as a last-minute replacement, I told you guys I was ready,” Bracero told Top Rank. “This felt like a sparring session to me. I feel great, I’m hungry. I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible.”

Vladimir Nikitin, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist from Russia, won his professional debut, knocking down Edward Kakembo twice en route to a six-round unanimous decision in a featherweight bout.