A FedEx employee delivered in a boxing ring Friday night in Plant City, Florida.
Kendo Castaneda withstood a tough challenge from Joseph Fernandez to win a 10-round unanimous decision and advanced to the final of ProBox TV’s “Last Chance Tournament” in the 140-pound division. Fernandez will face the winner of the second semifinal Friday night between Michael Dutchover and Antonio Moran on November 4 for a $50,000 grand prize.
Judges David DeJonge, Thomas Nardone and Joanne Richard all scored this fight 96-94 for Castaneda at Whitesands Events Center. San Antonio’s Castaneda (19-5, 9 KOs) nearly knocked out Fernandez toward the end of the ninth round, but the left-handed Fernandez survived that trouble and caught Castaneda at times with his jab, body shots and combination punching.
Despite his loss, Fernandez (15-5-3, 5 KOs), of nearby St. Petersburg, Florida, gave Castaneda a much more difficult fight than Castaneda experienced in the opening round of this tournament. Castaneda ended a five-fight losing streak by viciously knocking out Sonny Fredrickson in the first round May 20 to reach this semifinal match.
Castaneda hurt Fernandez badly toward the end of the ninth round, but Fernandez came back strong in the 10th round. The resilient southpaw landed the harder punches during those final three minutes and backed up Castaneda for much of that final round.
Fernandez nailed Castaneda with a straight left hand that knocked him backward 40 seconds into the ninth round. Castaneda landed two right hands and a left hook in the middle minute of the ninth round that eventually knocked Fernandez into the ropes.
A left uppercut and a right hand by Castaneda hurt Fernandez, who took another hard right hand that made him stumble with just over 10 seconds on the clock in the ninth round. Fernandez survived, though, to make it to the final round.
A left-right combination by Fernandez landed 55 seconds into the eighth round. Castaneda drilled Fernandez with a right hand that snapped his head back just after the halfway point of the eighth round.
Castaneda blasted Fernandez with a left hook with just under 40 seconds to go in the eighth round.
Fernandez dug to Castaneda’s body in the first half of the seventh round. The taller, longer Fernandez landed his jab consistently in the seventh round as well.
With just under 50 seconds on the clock in the seventh round, Fernandez caught Castaneda with a left uppercut.
Castaneda snapped back Fernandez’s head with a right hand 10 seconds into the sixth round. A right hook by Fernandez made Castaneda move away from him with just under 50 seconds on the clock in the sixth round.
Castaneda caught Fernandez with a right hand with just under 45 seconds remaining in the fifth round. Fernandez landed four body shots in the final 30 seconds of the fifth round.
Fernandez defended himself well for most of the fourth round, when Castaneda consistently tried to attack his body. Castaneda connected with a sweeping left hook just after the midway mark of the fourth round.
Barely 30 seconds into the third round, Fernandez landed a three-punch combination and stopped Castaneda in his tracks. Castaneda continued to pressure Fernandez for most of the third round, but Fernandez effectively countered him and avoided most of Castaneda’s punches.
A straight left hand by Fernandez landed with just under 1:20 remaining in the second round. Castaneda’s left hook landed a few seconds prior to the bell ringing to end the second round.
Castaneda’s right hook hit Fernandez with just under 20 seconds on the clock in the opening round. Castaneda caught Fernandez with another right hook several seconds before the bell sounded to end the first round.
Fernandez landed a right hook with 45 seconds to go in the opening round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.