Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Redwood City's Juan Hernandez looks for an opening during his knockout win over Sacramento's Payton Boyea at the Fox Theater Friday night in Redwood City.
Redwood City’s Juan Hernandez went into Friday night’s fight against Payton Boyea of Sacramento knowing it was a make-or-break situation for his career.
He knew it, his trainer knew, his long-time fans knew it. After battling through a pair of hand and elbow injuries over the past couple of years — injuries that set back his career after a promising ascent up the amateur ranks — Hernandez (3-1, 3 KOs) had a lot more riding on his Friday Night at the Fox bout than just another ‘W.’
And so, as the first round counted down, Hernandez went for broke and threw a punch with the aforementioned left hand.
“I threw it because it was the hand that I had injured,” Hernandez said. “And once it landed and it didn’t hurt me, I gained confidence.”
The left hook landed flushed and was the catalyst to a first round technical knock out in Hernandez’s return to the ring at the cruiserweight level. The stoppage came with nine second left in the first round after Hernandez landed a left-right combination and rattled Boyea, sending him to the canvas for the second time.
Six seconds into the referee’s count, and fight officials stepped in to put an end to the bout.
“Truthfully, I’m just very pleased and happy, especially after these injuries,” Hernandez said. “I’m back and thank God I feel strong and now we’re moving on to another weight class. I’m just happy and pleased in returning to the sport that I love. I’m just thankful to all my supporters from Redwood City and across the Bay Area.”
Hernandez was part of a locally-rich card at yet another sold out Fox Night at the Fox Theatre. Along with Hernandez, who boxes out of the Redwood City Police Activities League, Ricardo Pinell of B Street Boxing in San Mateo, and Bruno Escalante, of Undisputed Boxing in San Carlos, fought and won at the Fox.
Pinell outlasted and then destroyed Stanley Harvey of Norfolk, Va. with a devastating left hand at the 1:26 mark of the third round of their super welterweight bout.
Both fighters came in over the allotted weight, but Pinell gave up a significant nine pounds. He used that to his advantage by out-pacing Harvey for two rounds and then landing a hard left hook that took down the Virginia native.
“I knew he came in soft,” Pinell (5-0-1, 4 KOs) said. “I knew I wanted to establish that jab, that’s the key to everything. His body was soft. That was going to set up everything up top and that’s what we did.”
Also victorious — and arguably the most impressive of the three local victors — was Escalante, who is now 3-0 at the Fox.
“The Aloha Kid” scored a technical knockout after taking down Mexico’s Manuel Galaviz twice in the first round with big left hands. Galaviz was not cleared by the ringside doctor to come out for the second.
Escalante showed tremendous quickness and explosiveness. After stalking and measuring Galaviz for the bulk of the first round, he pounced and detonated a straight left bomb on the Mexican. From there, it was just a continued onslaught on a fragile fighter.
Escalante, fighting in the flyweight division, is now 9-1-1 with five knockouts.