COSTA MESA — With a hard inside right punch so convincing one could almost see it coming, Alexander Flores leveled Henry Namauu to the sky-blue canvas Thursday at The Hangar on the Orange County Fairgrounds.
In front of a packed house Thursday, with 1:15 left in the fourth round of the eight-round bout, Flores showed the local crowd why he is indeed the WBC's 37th-ranked heavyweight in the world and youth world champion with the WBC. For good measure, before that the product of Pomona knocked the overmatched Namauu down with a powerful left cross.
Flores (10-0, eight knockouts), who turned the enviably young age of 22 on Aug. 9, took over and easily beat Namauu (10-5), an experienced Las Vegan who had five knockouts coming into the main event as part of Fight Club OC.
"It was my best round," Flores said. "He was one of my toughest fighters. You get what you deserve. Toward the end I landed my second punch and just kept pounding and pounding."
To finish things off, Flores got into such a furious rhythm punching Namauu silly, that the referee had no choice but to stop the fight with 1:57 left in the eighth round. That sent Flores into a celebratory frenzy, yelling with his mouth guard showing.
"He was one of the top guys in our heavyweight division," Flores said. "I gave it my all. It feels good fighting in front of (the fans)."
To Namauu's credit, he stuck around and refused to be stopped earlier than he actually was. He even backed Flores into a corner, but once Flores got some space in between them, he struck some hefty blows at Namauu.
In the lone mixed martial arts fight of the night, Rob Emerson from Irvine took on Jason Williams of Buena Park in a three-round 145-pound showdown.
It was over in a flash, with Emerson getting the technical rare naked choke hold on Williams with 2:46 left in the first round. It all happened in one continuous occurrence. Emerson took down Williams, kept him down with chops and quick punches, then pinned him down into submission.
Emerson, a Dana Hills graduate, was disappointed he couldn't put on a better show but took the win to move to 13-10. Williams has a losing mark at 4-5.
"I was trying to manage my weight on top of him," Emerson said. "He was explosive and I managed to ride him the whole way. Once he turned around, I wrenched his head."
Emerson also felt the energy of the local crowd cheering him on. In October, he plans to fight at The Hangar again.
"It was awesome," Emerson said. "It was an honor to fight in front of the home fans."
A mismatch of a junior welterweight bout went to Byron Gonzalez of Pomona.
The first round was like a good old-fashioned game of Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots, with both fighters trading punches and willing to get hit in the face nearly the entire round. Gonzalez went to town on Malfavon in the second round, teeing off on him against the ropes from one end up the ring to the next, with Malfavon covering up in defense.
Gonzalez used Malfavon (2-10-1) like a punching bag, so much so that the official stopped the fight in the middle of the third round of the six-round fight to keep Gonzalez, nicknamed "The Cookie Monster," undefeated at 4-0 with four KOs.
"We knew what he was going to do," Gonzalez said. "We just worked hard on it in the gym. At first, it was hard to dodge him (his uppercuts). But I got better toward the end."
Issac Tadeo of La Habra knocked out Silvanio Reyes of Yucaipa 52 seconds into the third round, dominating throughout, to win the light middleweight fight. Tadeo improved to 3-0 with three knockouts, while Reyes fell to 0-2.
Luis Bello won the lightweight bout, the first fight of the night, defeating Alejandro Ochoa via split decision. With 1:49 left in the fourth and final round, Bello of Los Angeles (3-0) caught Ochoa of Bell Gardens (1-2-1) in a speedy exchange to knock him out. Ochoa appeared to have won the first two rounds, but Bello came back strong to finish him off.
The super middleweight bout went to Brady Rein, who beat Omar Barefield. Barefield (0-2) slipped and fell to the mat in the second round, with Rein barely tapping him with a quick right jab. In the third round, Barefield was knocked into the corner and given a standing eight count, then his corner waved the towel to stop the fight for a TKO win by Rein (2-0).