Junior featherweights Erika Cruz and Nazarena Romero fought to a split draw Saturday at Palenque de la Féria National de San Marcos in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Scores were 97-93 for Romero, 97-93 for Cruz and 95-95.

The bout, which topped the Eduardo Hernandez-Daniel Lugo undercard, was close from opening to final bell and had few, if any, clear-cut rounds.

Cruz is known for her incredible volume, Romero for her fierce power, and the two women whaled away at each other for 10 rounds. Neither showed signs of slowing despite the thin air of Aguascalientes, which is more than 6,000 feet above sea level.

Even with her brawl-first style, the 33-year-old Cruz used enough head movement to avoid getting hit with the biggest punches of Romero, who is four years Cruz’s junior. Cruz’s solid chin, which survived 10 rounds with Amanda Serrano, held up to those shots she did take. When she was on the atack, she threw hard combinations at Romero, who often stood still in the hopes of landing her power punches.

Cruz led with her head frequently, leading to several head clashes during inside exchanges, which eventually drew blood from both fighters. 

Romero made a strong defensive adjustment late in the bout, fighting at distance more often to ensure that Cruz’s forward plunges fell short.

Cruz and Romero left nothing in the tank in the final round, unloading extended combinations at close range in the final seconds.

The spirited exchanges continued in postfight interviews. Cruz, who retained her junior featherweight title, disputed the outcome afterwards but said she wanted to unify titles rather than give Romero a second opportunity, while Romero said she would have to train specifically to avoid further Cruz head-butts in a hypothetical rematch.

Randy Leon and Misael Cabrera End in Dubious Draw

Randy Leon and Misael Cabrera fought to a majority draw in a 10-round bout at 140 pounds. The outcome, unlike Cruz-Romero, was difficult to figure given how heavily Cabrera dictated the action throughout the fight.

The 24-year-old Cabrera scored a flash knockdown in the first round, bursting forward with a quick combination punctuated by a right hand, catching Leon off-balance and sending him tumbling to the canvas. 

Though Leon (14-0-1, 7 KOs) had the shorter reach, as if cautious of the altitude’s potential effects on his stamina, he seemed content to stay on the outside and throw one shot at a time. The Mexican crowd struggled to engage with the fight despite Leon hailing from Mexico City and Cabrera from Sonora, Mexico. Cabrera (15-2-1, 11 KOs) happily took advantage of Leon’s strategy, working at range and teeing off when he had Leon shelled up against the ropes. 

The 21-year-old Leon did some work himself, notably in the seventh round, which saw Cabrera switch to southpaw. Gabriel Rosado, on the call for DAZN, speculated that Cabrera had been hurt by a body shot. His hooks, left and right, landed frequently when the fight moved to close range. But Leon remained inactive relative to Cabrera and seemingly landed few punches significant enough to win him rounds over Cabrera’s steadier pressure.

The judges, who turned in two 95-95 cards and one 96-94 score for Cabrera, disagreed.

Criztec Bazaldua Tops Luis Fernando Ruiz

Criztec Bazaldua outpointed Luis Fernando Ruiz over six rounds in a lightweight meeting by scores of 59-56 (twice) and 58-57. 

Despite a significant reach advantage, 19-year-old prospect Bazaldua (5-0, 1 KO) scarcely threw jabs, allowing the smaller Ruiz, 21, to get inside without difficulty. Still, Bazaldua remained in control of the bout, landing hard hooks to the head and an especially nasty-sounding body shot in the third round.

His performance was far from airtight, though — the dearth of jabs made Bazaldua a little too easy for Ruiz (5-1, 3 KOs) to tag with power shots. Though Ruiz was competitive throughout, Bazaldua landed the more telling blows.

Leonardo Rubulcava Jabs His Way to a Stoppage Win

In the opening bout, Leonardo Rubulcava pummeled hometown favorite Roberto Nevarez in a four-round junior welterweight bout. Nevarez’s corner stopped the fight after the third round.

The combatants, both 21 years old and Mexican-born, couldn’t have fought more differently. Rubulcava (7-0, 3 KOs) threw an accurate, vicious jab from the jump, busting and bloodying the nose of Nevarez (4-1, 3 KOs) within a minute. He followed the jab with punishing overhand rights that further damaged his opponent’s face. Nevarez proved incredibly tough, but he had few countermeasures besides pressing forward in straight lines, giving Rubulcava an easy target.