WBC Super Featherweight World Championship

Eric Treviño, Photographer

Lenier Pero vs. Viktor Faust 

In the 10-round televised opening event, two undefeated heavyweights clashed in the ring at the Alamodome. In the opening rounds, Lenier Pero was cautious of Victor Faust’s significant reach advantage, keeping Faust away by fighting at his own distance and throwing significant strikes to Faust’s body to then start throwing and landing strikes to the head. By the third round, both fighters found their rhythm as Faust looked for openings with his jab to find and land straight rights toward Pero, and the Cuban was on the defensive, only exchanging with Faust in the way of counterpunching to the body. Pero was in deep by the end of the third round as a left hook thrown by Faust left him wobbled and standing on shaken legs. Toward the middle rounds, it was clear that Faust was up on the scorecards as he was getting the most from their quick exchanges with his solid jab and crushing right hand. Unexpectedly,, however, the match ended at the 2:28 marker in the eighth round as a devastating combination from Pero led to a clean left to Faust’s liver. Faust turned his back toward Pero in a demoralized fashion, calling an end to the round by TKO. 

Mario Barrios vs. Jovanie Santiago 

San Antonio native and former WBA champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios stopped his two-fight losing streak in his bout with Jovanie Santiago. What felt like an earthquake was the home crowd going all in for Barrios’ performance. The fight started with both men trying to figure one another out and see where they might sneak in a punch or two. By the sixth round, it was evident that Barrios was too strong for Santiago as Santiago could not land any significant strikes that would do anything to the former champion. Halfway through the sixth, Barrios left Santiago open to a massive flurry of lefts and rights that had Santiago hurt on the ropes. Once both men returned to their corner before the start of the seventh round, it was clear that Santiago had sustained the most damage. As the seventh started Barrios kept the same energy he did in the opening rounds while Santiago was too worn out to capitalize on an open opportunity to hit Barrios clean with a right hand as Barrios dropped his left to set up an ineffective left hook. By the eighth round, Santiago was dropped by an effective right left to his liver. Santiago’s corner called the fight at the 1:42 marker into the eighth despite Santiago beating the count. Barrios bounced back from a small losing streak and a year away from the ring to a TKO victory over Santiago leaving their records (27-2, 18 KOs) for Barrios and (14-3-1, 10 KOs) for Santiago. 

O’Shaquie Foster vs. Rey Vargas 

As the vacant title lay dormant at the Alamodome, both challengers looked to give it their absolute all in the ring to walk off as the new WBC world super featherweight champion. As both fighters entered the ring, cheers filled the stadium. Vargas had the warmest welcome of the two. Walking out to mariachi music, greeting fans and flashing his other world championship belts, all while looking confident he will dismantle Foster. However, Foster had other plans, as he was the one to completely outbox and overpower Vargas in the ring. The fight, although one-sided, did not see any fighter touch the canvas despite Vargas being folded twice by the same right hand thrown by Foster. In the later rounds, Vargas tried desperately to land any significant strikes trying to get foster to lower his guard for just a second with feints. The fight went the full 12 rounds, where both Vargas and Foster went into a fire fest of strikes in the last few minutes of the bout. In the end, the fight went to a decision where the judges scored the fight 116-112, 117-111, and 119-109, all in favor of the current WBC world super featherweight champion Foster. Both men’s records now sit at (36-1, 22 KOs) for Vargas and (20-2, 11 KOs) for Foster.