LOS ANGELES — The battle between William Zepeda and Hector Tanajara Jr. was a bout between two up-and-coming, unbeaten prospects, and it was Zepeda who proved his ceiling is higher.
Zepeda (23-0, 21 KOs) outboxed, outmuscled and outhustled Tanajara (19-1, 5 KOs) in a one-sided beatdown, and the fight was stopped after six rounds in the corner on Friday night at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
Tanajara trainer Robert Garcia instructed the fight to be stopped before the seventh round started after his fighter absorbed a heavy beating throughout the entire fight.
Zepeda landed 188 punches in the fight, with 181 of them being of the power punch variety. Tanajara landed just a total of 78 punches, per CompuBox, as he couldn't use his 3.5 inch reach advantage to fend off Zepeda.
The southpaw Zepeda started the first round tenaciously, stocking down the longer and taller Tanajara. The same script followed in the second round, as Tanajara had to muster much of his offense off his back foot.
The Texan Tanajara was graduating from a January 2020 win over the battle-tested veteran Juan Carlos Burgos in San Antonio, the 24-year-old’s last bout.
The come-forward, 25-year-old Mexican native Zepeda started the third round as a man on a mission, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and firing off a barrage of vicious blows. Zepeda was dictating the pace with a powerful attack to the body, paired with left and right hooks. When Tanajara was able to trade, the pitter-patter punches did little damage. The ultra-active Zepeda finished the round landing 54 of his 144 punches.
Zepeda zipped by with a relentless pace in the fourth, turning Tanajara into somewhat of a discouraged, sluggish fighter with a series of combinations.
Tanajara, meanwhile, countered with just singular punches. Tanajara had only one KO in his last 13 bouts, and it showed he would not have the one-punch power to make Zepeda think twice with his offensive attack.
Garcia pleaded from the corner “you gotta throw, you gotta throw” in the fifth round, but Tanajara could not let his hands go in combinations. Zepeda seemed to hear Garcia’s instructions a bit better, finishing the round with a flurry of leather.
An overzealous Tanajara started the sixth with a couple of clean right hands but Zepeda remained unbothered before definitively finishing the fight.
Zepeda was fighting for just the second time in the United States. He beat Roberto Ramirez in November on a Ring City USA card at the Wild Card Boxing club.
The fight took place as part of the Golden Boy Promotions card headlined by the Gilberto Ramirez vs. Sullivan Barrera fight and streamed on DAZN.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com