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Morales reigns in hangar

MMA/Boxing

She gains revenge against Luna in one of six-bouts featuring boxing and mixed martial arts as part of Fight Club OC.

August 15, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Don Leach / Daily…)

COSTA MESA — Fighters came out in red and blue T-shirts with numbers on the back of them during the introduction portion of Fight Club OC on Thursday.

A sports drink brand sponsored the professional boxing and mixed martial arts event, but in the fight game, the only numbers that count are the wins and losses in a fighter's record.

The numbers on the T-shirts belonged to professional athletes in other sports. The fighters in the red corner sported Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout's No. 27 and the blue New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's No. 87.

One fighter continued the football theme inside the hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center.

Rhonda Luna knows all about football. She played organized women's tackle football before she returned to boxing this year.

In her second fight this year, Luna's former football teammates, wearing their jerseys, walked her to the ring. Once the 35-year-old from Rowland Heights got in, Luna was on her own, fighting for the vacant International Female Boxers Assn. World Lightweight title.

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She and her opponent, Crystal Morales, slugged it out for 10 rounds. The two met back in June, when Luna, fighting for the first time in two years, won a unanimous decision.

They returned to the same venue and battled in front of another sold-out crowd.

This time, the decision went to Morales. The Oxnard fighter pulled out a split decision in front of 1,482 fans, which came out to support the women fighters and five other bouts on the card.

Seventeen days after she turned 29, Morales survived her first 10-round fight. She got revenge against Luna and a late birthday gift, the IFBA World Lightweight title belt.

Morales (8-9-1) wore it proudly after two judges scored it, 98-91, 95-94, in favor of Morales, and 96-93 for Luna.

Morales became the fourth fighter to outlast Luna in a 10-round fight. She even knocked down Luna (17-4-2) in the second round.

The women weren't even Fight Club OC's featured fight, but they earned the night's lone standing ovation.

The main event saw Fullerton's Curtis Millender (3-0) record a unanimous decision against Bakersfield's J.C. Llamas (4-2) in a MMA welterweight fight.

The card's first fight featured super welterweight boxers John Hays and Donte Stower. One remained unbeaten and the other winless.

Hays, fighting for the first time outside of the San Fernando Valley, controlled much of the four-round bout, until Stower delivered a flurry of shots in the final round.

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