Houston's night of fights

Boxing phenom Jaime Munguia puts his title on the line at Toyota Center

Jaime Munguia. Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Productions.

World championship boxing makes a rare stop in Houston on tonight with a pair of world title defenses on the line at Toyota Center. The card is packed with 14 fighters, but the star of the show is 22 year old Mexican phenom Jaime Munguia, who puts his World Boxing Organization junior middleweight title on the line in a defense against Takeshi Inoue.

Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs) has stormed onto the championship boxing scene in the past 18 months. He was just 21 years old when he claimed the WBO title via a violent 4th round knockout of Sadam Ali in May of last year. Ali was scheduled to fight Liam Smith in thebout, but Munguia stepped in as a late replacement when Smith pulled out with an injury. Munguia dominated the action, scoring four knockdowns before the referee called a halt to the action in the fourth round. Following his impressive performance to win the title, Munguia won a unanimous decision against the aforementioned Liam Smith, and followed that up with a knockout of Brandon Cook in the 3rd round as the co-feature to the second Canelo/Golovkin fight. Munguia's pressure style will remind fight fans of a more unpolished Golovkin, stalking opponents, working behind the jab and landing thudding shots to the head and body.

Inoue (13-0-1, 7 KOs) has an undefeated record but is taking a big step up in competition. It will be his first fight outside of Asia, with 13 of 14 previous bouts coming in his native Japan. The betting odds reflect Inoue's unknown status; Munguia is a -9000 favorite to win the fight.

With such strong odds in his favor, Munguia's goal won't be just to win but to look good doing so. Promoter Oscar de la Hoya will look to continue Munguia's meteoric rise, and another early knockout will likely be what will continue that path forward. Inoue is not known as a puncher, so I would expect Munguia to be willing to take risks in order to close the show early. If you're headed to the Toyota Center don't be late to your seat, because the fireworks from Munguia are likely to start as soon as the opening bell rings.

UNDERCARD REPORT

The co-feature is another world championship matchup with Jesus Rojas defending his World Boxing Association featherweight title against Xu Can. Rojas (26-2-2, 19 KOs) lost his last fight to Joseph Diaz but retained his belt because Diaz failed to make weight. Xu (15-2, 2 KO) has won his last 12 fights, but has only scored one knockout in that period.
Also on the undercard is 20 year old prospect Vergil Ortiz (11-0, 11 KOs.) He steps in what is to be a showcase fight with Jesus Valdez (23-4, 12 KOs.)

GET IN DAZN

If you're not headed out to Toyota Center, the fights will be streamed live on the app DAZN. The app (pronounced Da' Zone) is a subscription based service specializing in live boxing with plans of moving into other sports in the coming years. The service is $9.99 per month but a one month free trial is available. In recent months fighters like Canelo Alvarez, Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, and Jesse Vargas have signed contracts to fight on DAZN. The app also holds the rights to the World Boxing Super Series tournaments.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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