Manny ‘Gucci’ Flores survived his first gut check.

The local favorite turned away a determined Franklin Gonzalez to earn an eight-round, split decision victory. Judge Damian Walton (76-75) had it for the visiting Gonzalez, overruled by Pat Russell (77-74) and Fernando Villareal (77-74) who both awarded five rounds apiece to Flores in their DAZN-aired co-feature Thursday evening at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.

Flores—who hails from nearby Coachella—grew accustomed to early nights at the office but quickly learned that Gonzalez was prepared for the long haul. The unbeaten 24-year-old bantamweight southpaw was assertive in the opening round and found success with his long left hand. It didn’t take long for Venezuela’s Gonzalez to turn the tide, determined to prove that he had the power to match what many suspected was an inflated record (all 25 wins by way of knockout). Flores was on the defensive in round three and much of round before turning the tide with a straight left hand to dislodge the mouthpiece of Gonzalez late in round four.

Flores scored the bout’s lone knockdown, though under dubious circumstances. A right hook partially landed for Flores, whose momentum shoved Gonzalez to the canvas. The sequence was ruled a knockdown, to the dismay of Gonzalez who believed he was pushed to the canvas.

Gonzalez (25-2, 25KOs) was forced to contend with cuts over both eyes. A deep gash over his right eye was deemed the result of a punch, while a ding outside his left eye was ruled to have been caused by a headbutt.

It fueled the visiting Venezuelan, who landed the more telling blows down the stretch but was not as accurate as Flores (15-0, 11KOs), who fought past the fifth round for the first time. The distance win ends a five-fight win streak for the rising prospect.

Grant Flores delivered a memorable pro debut in front of his adoring local fans with a first-round stoppage of Mexico’s Jorge Ayala Lopez. Flores floored Lopez midway through the round and continued to apply pressure until forcing the stoppage at 2:31 into the opening round of their DAZN-aired junior middleweight contest.

Flores (1-0, 1KO) trains under Joel Diaz and regularly spars with an all-star roster in the Indio gym, including 2016 Olympic Gold medalist and current 140-pound contender Shakram Giyasov. It showed on Thursday as he made quick work of the overmatch Lopez (0-2) of Queretaro, Mexico, whom he dropped with a classic one-two early in the bout. A left hook by Flores drew blood from the nose of Lopez, with the ensuing volley forcing the stoppage.

Flores—the younger cousin of Manny ‘Gucci’ Flores—will campaign as a welterweight moving forward.

Kat Lindenmuth outworked former title challenger Lorraine Villalobos to claim a split decision win in their spirited six-round strawweight affair. Judge Villareal (58-56) scored in favor of Los Angeles’ Villalobos, overruled by Russell (58-56) and Walton (59-55) who awarded the bout to Albuquerque’s Lindenmuth, a single mother who returned to the win column after her lone career defeat last September.

Zachary Spiller was forced to go to the scorecards for the first time in his young career. The Houston-based heavyweight rookie preserved his unbeaten record as he outpointed Kaleel Carter over four rounds. Judges Russell (39-37), Walton (39-37) and Villareal (39-37) scored in favor of Spiller in their DAZN opener.

Spiller (3-0, 2KOs) fought largely behind his right jab for much of the contest. Carter (3-4, 3KOs)—who hails from Bellflower, California— was urged by his corner to pick up the pace as he gave away too much ground in just a four-round fight. Spiller took advantage of his opponent’s inactivity, save for a brief scare when his head was snapped back by a stiff left hand from Carter in the fourth round.

Stefanie Cohen (3-1-1, 1KOs) rode a second-round knockdown all the way to the finish line in a four-round, unanimous decision over Leanne Calderon (1-3-1, 0KOs) of Austin, Texas. Judges Russell (38-37), Walton (38-37) and Villareal (38-37) agreed on all four rounds, awarding Cohen the bout despite a late surge by Calderon.

Headlining the show, unbeaten junior bantamweight contender John ‘Scrappy’ Ramirez and Guadalajara’s Luis Padilla (15-3-2, 2KOs) meet in a scheduled ten-round regional title fight. 

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox