By David Carrillo Peñaloza
COSTA MESA — You can now watch fights while smoking a cigar in Costa Mesa.
Fight Club OC on Thursday night unveiled its cigar lounge, located next to the Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center. The Hangar’s large doors opened after the opening bout, just in time to break out a victory cigar for the first winning fighter.
In all, there were four cigars to hand out to fighters from Orange County.
One fighter from out of town deserved a Cuban.
Antonio Orozco has been a human victory cigar in the boxing ring, but the Mexican-born fighter was not going to celebrate by lighting up a cigar.
Orozco just lit up Hensley Strachan in the first round, knocking him out. The sold-out crowd of 1,412 did not get to see much of the featured fighter, but Orozco felt he made up for having to withdraw from a Fight Club OC event in April because of food poisoning.
“Unfortunately, I let quite a few people down,” said Orozco, blaming tuna he ate for having to withdraw the last time.
That does not mean Orozco will not eat tuna again.
“We’re not afraid of it,” Orozco said with a smile.
Orozco does not fear whoever gets in the ring with him as well.
The junior welterweight improved to 10-0 with seven knockouts. Getting to a perfect 10 was easy for Orozco.
He made quick work of Strachan (5-9-1), catching him with an uppercut that dropped the Bahamian near the corner at the 2:15 mark.
“I thought he was going to go down, and he did go down,” Orozco said. “I thought he was going to come back up.”
Orozco was not the only fighter who stayed undefeated.
Mario Navarro of Huntington Beach improved to 3-0 in mixed martial arts action. He rebounded nicely after a rough opening round in a 135-pound fight.
Navarro attacked Riverside’s Skylar Reider (1-2) in the second round, locking him up on the ground. Reider’s nose began to bleed and he tapped out at the 1:21 mark.
Navarro, sporting a Mohawk, danced around afterward.
The first bout featured lightweights Edgar Sanchez and Ricardo Garcia. Sanchez made his debut and it did not turn out in his favor after it went the distance, four rounds.
Garcia scored a majority decision and improved to 2-1. Garcia, who is from La Habra, also scored the biggest shot.
The blow came in the third round, when he caught Sanchez, who stumbled near the middle of the ring before staying on his feet.
At least Sanchez avoided a knock down in his first fight.
In the following lightweight matchup, fans witnessed a boxer go down for the first time. They cheered because an Orange County fighter delivered the shot that made it happen.
Tustin’s Paul Velarde cornered Paul Green in the corner and Green went down in the second round, only to rise quickly, hoping the referee missed it.
The ref did not and he separated the two fighters and began counting before Green showed he was ready to continue.
It did not matter because Velarde was on his way to recording a unanimous decision. Velarde (3-1-3) is now unbeaten in his last six fights, while Green dropped to 2-2.
The first mixed martial arts fight did not even last a full round. Ozzie Alvarez, who trains out of Huntington Beach, forced Daniel Mancha to tap out at the 2:28 mark.
Mancha (2-3) motioned to the ref to stop the 185-pound bout after Alvarez (2-2) wrapped his arms around the Upland fighter’s throat.
He had enough, and so did a welterweight fighter in the lone women’s bout of the evening.
Jessica Penne looked toward the large screen to watch Cindy Amador abuse her. Amador connected with a flurry of punches. Penne’s corner saw enough and threw in the towel, ending Penne’s debut.
She was the only fighter from Orange County who did not earn a victory cigar.