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Urquidez Wins 4th Kick-Boxing Crown

Times Staff Writer

Benny (the Jet) Urquidez won his fourth kick-boxing title Saturday night. And he may have done so with a broken left hand.

Urquidez won a unanimous 12-round decision over Tom La Roche at North Campus Hall on the Cal State Northridge campus before an estimated crowd of 3,000.

Urquidez believed he injured the hand on a punch thrown in the fifth round. Medical tests to be taken later Saturday night were required before the extent of the injury could be determined.

La Roche staggered Urquidez with a right hand in the first round but was never again able to do any damage to the 33-year-old Urquidez.

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The only knockdown came in the second round when Urquidez floored La Roche with an overhand left.

Judge Jerry Cole scored the fight, 120-89, in favor of Urquidez. Judge Howard Sidman scored it 120-110. The third judge, Cecil Peoples, scored it 120-99.

Urquidez added the World Karate Assn. welterweight title to the WKA super lightweight, lightweight and the Professional Karate Assn. lightweight crowns he had previously won.

“He (La Roche) said he was in better condition than I was,” Urquidez said after the bout. “He was younger than I was. I don’t count age. I know how I feel. And right now I feel great.”

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Although “Benny the Jet” felt good, he spent most of the night grounded.

Having earned his nickname from his ability to spend much of his time in the air while demonstrating a wide variety of kicks, Urquidez resorted to using his hands mostly to earn Saturday’s decision.

The win upped Urquidez’s record to 57-0 with 47 knockouts. The only blot on the Tarzana resident’s perfect record came in the summer of 1980, in West Palm Beach, Fla., when Texan Billie Jackson won a seven-round decision after demanding that leg kicks be forbidden in the bout.

Urquidez agreed but does not count the fight on his record.

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La Roche, 28, is 24-3. He has knocked out 15 of his opponents.

In the first fight of the evening, Francis Farley of Santa Cruz dropped Richard Woods of Illinois at 2:02 of the first round with a spinning heel kick to retain his California Middleweight Amateur title.

Farley is 8-0 with two knockouts. Woods has lost twice in 15 fights.

In the first professional fight of the night, San Fernando’s Kenny Caldera, making his professional debut, fought to a draw with Nelson Palcensia of Italy in a four-round super welterweight match.

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Lorenzo Rodriguez of El Monte entered his scheduled super featherweight five-round bout against Lawrence Miera of Albuquerque, N.M., with a 10-0 mark, six knockouts and the No. 10 ranking in the WKA. But 1:29 into the fourth round he was knocked out by Miera, who is 6-0. All six wins have come by knockout.

In a super lightheavyweight bout, Charlie Archie of Albuquerque knocked out John Hackleman of Canoga Park at 1:39 of the second round. Hackleman’s record fell to 6-2.

In the semi-main event, Rick O’Kane of Los Angeles took the North American lightweight championship from Gordy Gong by stopping him 25 seconds into the sixth round of their scheduled nine-round fight. O’Kane is 9-3 with seven knockouts. Gong, from Abbotsferd, Canada, saw his record fall to 19-8-1.


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