Whitfield regains flyweight title

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Rayonta Whitfield won back his North American Boxing Organization flyweight title Saturday night.

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Rayonta Whitfield lands a right hook on his opponent Sergio Espinoza on Saturday night. The Augusta native's victory came by technical knockout in the ninth round at Bell Auditorium.  Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Rayonta Whitfield lands a right hook on his opponent Sergio Espinoza on Saturday night. The Augusta native's victory came by technical knockout in the ninth round at Bell Auditorium.

His next fight will be for a world championship.

Whitfield defeated Sergio Espinoza with a technical knockout in the ninth round in front of a vocal crowd at Bell Auditorium.

"It's another stepping stone to the top," Whitfield said after taking possession of the championship belt in the ring. "Our people will go back to the drawing board and see what we can work out."

Whitfield was in command from the start, landing a number of punches against his opponent.

The Augusta boxer known as "Stingray" put Espinoza on the mat in the second and seventh rounds, but he landed the deciding blow at the 2:49 mark of the ninth round.

With Espinoza backing toward the ropes, Whitfield landed a big right hook and the "San Diego Sensation" crumpled to the mat. He got back up, but then signaled that he couldn't go on.

The partisan crowd rose to give Whitfield a standing ovation, and he was soon joined by family and friends inside the ropes.

Whitfield's local trainer, Tom Moraetes, said before the fight that it was a must win for his boxer. The NABO title was vacant -- Whitfield previously held it -- and the winner automatically became No. 1 in the rankings.

"It couldn't get any better. A guy like that, hard to take out, everything came together," Moraetes said. "He won and he looked good."

The victory improved Whitfield's record to 24-1, while Espinoza's mark dropped to 16-7-1.

Weeks of preparation paid off for Whitfield, who said he had faster hands than his opponent.

"Everything he brought to the ring I knew he was going to bring," Whitfield said. "I was ready for it."

The main event capped a night of boxing with seven bouts on the card. Most of the fights were decided by knockout or technical knockout, and only two required decisions by the judges.

Even though the event wasn't sold out, the evening was judged a success by TKO Boxing Promotions president Chet Koerner.

"We've got a great crowd tonight, and everyone came out to support the local hometown hero, Rayonta Whitfield," Koerner said.

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BLACKOUTDAWG1 02/28/10 - 07:22 am
Congrtulations to Rayonta: He

Congrtulations to Rayonta: He must had a crash course of right cross from Former UGA Tail Back Knowshon Moreno. But it only took one punch to kock his opponent out. Go DAWGS

devgru1 02/28/10 - 11:13 am
Congrats my friend.

Congrats my friend.

Marvin 02/28/10 - 11:19 am
I'm really looking forward to

I'm really looking forward to more events such as this one here in Augusta. You could actually feel the energy of the crowd last night but I feel like if their would have been promotions for the fight all month long it would have been a sold out event. I also would like to congradulate Rayonta as well. I knew he would win, I could see it on his face in the locker room, that he was there for one thing and one thing only! The NABO Title. Keep Stinging Em Ray, your The Man.

Riverman1 02/28/10 - 08:00 pm
I wish there were a way to

I wish there were a way to configure the Bell better for boxing. I was there last April for the fight and noticed how the seating is not ideal, especially for those in the balcony. It would be nice if the seating was on all four sides of the ring instead of the theater type arrangement.

If we could get Paul Williams to fight here that would be a major deal. Maybe a big fight like that could be held in the JB Arena.

leverett1 03/01/10 - 10:28 am
We have to do a better job at

We have to do a better job at promoting such events to the Augusta community. This affair was a great event, but could have been better with more support. I also attended the R. Kelly concert at The Bell Auditorium a couple of months ago and it failed to sell out as well. Publicity is the key. Great job by The Augusta Chronicle for leading the way.

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