Despite A Challenge, Jose Zepeda Earns A Win Over Kendo Castaneda

With boxing’s most recent layoff, many were wondering which Jose Zepeda would be showing up. Inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Zepeda got the win, although he needed to dig deep in the later rounds to do so.

On July 7, Zepeda (32-2, 2 NC) beat a very game Kendo Castaneda via unanimous decision (97-93, 98-92, 98-92). Castaneda (17-2) was a replacement opponent after Ivan Baranchyk injured himself during training. With less than a week to prepare for a fighter like Zepeda, Castaneda was able to give it his all in an admirable effort.

Zepeda ended up giving credit where credit is due.

“Since he (Castaneda) hasn’t been on the big stages, nobody knows nothing about him,” Zepeda stated. “Today, I noticed he can get hit, he can take some punches. It was a good performance. I can do better. When the level goes up, I go up too.”

Zepeda established the pace early on with jabs that pushed Castaneda back. He hit a one-two combination and then a left hook. Reaching forward, Zepeda was able to prove he truly controlled the ring. While Castaneda tried going for combination shots, Zepeda pushed him back. He may have missed certain shots, but he landed combinations that made up for it.

As the early rounds continued, Zepeda worked around the guard of Castaneda. Both looked loose in round four, but Zepeda managed to land a left uppercut that pushed Castaneda’s head back. During rounds three and four Zepeda would connect with right hooks that were efficient. This would continue through the fifth round as Zepeda tried switching to southpaw. Castaneda did end up getting a nice left to the body of Zepeda before the round could end.

Around the seventh round, something was different about the fight. Zepeda looked either tired or was giving too much away. Castaneda moved forward and caught Zepeda with a few lefts. He applied pressure as Zepeda was taking heavy blows to the head. Castaneda would land a right-left combination to the body of Zepeda in the eighth. It appeared to be the only time Castaneda had any momentum, however.

Towards the ninth round, Zepeda woke up. He landed hard shots, pushing Castaneda against the ropes. The referee did end up stopping the action so Castaneda can fix his glove, but it did nothing to tire Zepeda, who still had enough energy to finish the fight.

In total, Zepeda landed 149 punches out of 446 thrown shots. Castaneda landed only 93 shots out of 422 thrown. This is according to CompuBox.

Zepeda is now on a two-fight unbeaten streak. After losing to Jose Ramirez for the WBC Light-Welterweight Title, he fought Eleazar Valenzuela to a no-contest but earned a win back by beating Jose Pedraza. Castaneda, who earned the first loss of his career last fight out, earned his second and is now on a two-fight losing streak.

As far as what is next for Zepeda, he is hoping to face the holders of the WBC, WBO, IBF, and WBA Titles within the welterweight division.

“He was a late replacement, but he was tough in there. I didn’t take Kendo lightly because I knew what he was capable of. He had only one loss by decision coming into tonight,” Zepeda said. “Anybody with a belt at 140 pounds is who I want to fight. A championship fight is my goal, and that is what I am working towards.”

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