Venezuelan puncher Johán “Manotas” Gonzalez defeated his compatriot Luis Enrique Romero in the fifth round and won the World Boxing Association (WBA) Fedelatin welterweight belt in the main fight of the V “Gilberto Mendoza Sr.” Festival, which was successfully held in two day-events at the Yesterday Recreational Center in Turmero, Aragua State.
The event was held on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th with an emotional tribute to the President Emeritus of the WBA, who led the pioneer boxing organization for 33 years and who passed away five years ago on March 11th.
The fifth edition of the Festival was divided into two sessions, with the performance of amateur fighters in the Cadets category, gathering fighters of 14 and 15 years old, while the closing day featured professional fighters, with eight bouts in the first session and eleven in the second one. Among the limited attendees to the show (the audience was restricted due to the pandemic) were the WBA super featherweight world champion, Venezuelan Róger Gutiérrez; the WBA junior flyweight champion, Carlos Cañizales, as well as the legendary Leo “Torito” Gámez and David Grimán, among other.
The most anticipated fight, the WBA-Fedelatin 147-pound, was settled in the fifth round. Gonzalez and Romero engaged in a heated exchange of punches throughout the rounds and the former had the better of the two. Hard punches from “Manotas” to the midsection weakened Romero’s resistance (his record dropped to 9-2), who quit after falling to the canvas, apparently affected by cramps. The victory was the 26th knockout win in 27 fights (he has one setback on points) for Gonzalez, who resides in Panama.
Gilberto Mendoza, Engineer (Barquisimeto, March 3, 1943-Caracas, March 11, 2016) became the head of the oldest boxing organization in the Annual Convention held in San Juan de Puerto Rico in 1982, from the hands of the Panamanian Rodrigo Sanchez, to become the XXXIII WBA president. He remained in office (reelected several times by acclamation) until 2015 when health issues, which later caused his death, forced him to resign. He was succeeded by his son, Gilberto Jesús Mendoza who was the executive vice president at the time. Gilberto Jesús Mendoza will preside over the WBA until at least 2025. His father was appointed President Emeritus of the institution, as a fair recognition of his successful career, by the WBA’s directorate.
The WBA will celebrate its 100th years of its creation as the National Boxing Association (NBA), a name that was changed to the current one (WBA) in 1962.