Dalis Kaleiopu heard the scorecards for the first time in his young career.
The 5’11” junior lightweight was forced to go all six rounds, as he outpointed Colombia’s Jonathan Perez. Scores were 60-52 on all three cards for Hawaii’s Kaleiopu in the opening bout of DAZN’s main show Saturday evening at The Walter Pyramid on the campus of California State University-Long Beach.
Perez used every trick in his 75-fight playbook to end Kaleiopu’s streak of three knockouts in as many pro bouts. It came at a price; Perez was disciplined for hitting Kaleiopu (4-0, 3KOs) behind the head in round three and for excessive holding in round five.
Kaleiopu never previously fought beyond the fourth round but it became clear early on that the 35-year-old Perez was going to provide fits. The 24-year-old prospect failed to put his massive height and reach advantages to use as most of the action took place at close quarters and with frequent clinches.
The threat of a knockout surfaced in the final 40 seconds. Kaleiopu rocked Perez with a left uppercut and followed up with a right hand that had the shopworn Colombia on rubbery legs. Perez managed to make it to the bell but suffered his third straight defeat in the process as he fell to 40-35 (32KOs).
Preceding the main card, San Diego’s Jorge Chavez picked up the quickest win of his career. The 23-year-old featherweight needed just 30 seconds to rid himself of Nicaragua’s Bryan Perez (12-17-1, 11KOs). A right hand left Perez out on his feet as he began his fall to the canvas. A follow-up left hook served as window dressing as Chavez (6-0, 5KOs) celebrated his latest victory.
The opening bout of the evening saw Patricio Manuel end a four-plus year ring hiatus with a technical decision win over Hien Hyunh (1-2, 0KOs). Manuel—the first-ever transgender boxer—won by scores of 40-34 on all three scorecards. Hyunh was dropped in rounds one and three, and suffered a cut over his left eye from a clash of heads which halted the action at 0:56 of round four and forced the bout to go to the scorecards.
Manuel (2-0, 1KOs) was a five-time female amateur champion before transitioning in 2012. He resurfaced more than six years in an historic pro debut when he outpointed Hugo Aguilar on a December 2018 Golden Boy show in Indio, California.
Former IBF junior lightweight titlist Joseph Diaz Jr. (32-3-1, 15KOs) faces San Diego-bred Filipino southpaw Mercito Gesta (33-3-3, 17KOs) in a makeshift main event.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox