Former junior lightweight titleholder Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas continued his comeback Thursday night with a TKO of “Lightning” Rod Salka at the end of the sixth round of a scheduled 10-rounder.
The fight headlined a Golden Boy on ESPN card at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
The backpedaling Salka (24-5, 4 KOs) landed plenty of punches, but they were nowhere near hard enough to stop Vargas’ stalking attack.
A combination to the body, followed by right uppercut to the chin floored the 35-year-old Salka in the fifth round. He beat referee Jerry Cantu’s count and lasted until the round-ending bell. But when the Bunola, Pennsylvania resident absorbed more punishment in the sixth, his corner stopped the fight at the end of the round.
It was a dominant performance by the 33-year-old Mexican who had surgery to remove scar tissue over both eyes since losing the title to Miguel Berchelt in January 2017. The win over Salka was “El Bandido’s” first bout in several years in which he did not suffer cuts around his eyes.
Vargas (25-1-2, 18 KOs) now hopes to work his way to another title shot.
In the co-feature, Andrew “El Chango” Cancio (18-4-2, 14 KOs) handed Aidar Sharibayev (7-1, 6 KOs) his first professional loss, stopping Sharibayev 43 seconds into the 10th and final round of a junior lightweight bout.
Cancio knocked down the 29-year-old Sharibayev in the third round with a left hook to the head and again in the fifth with a right to the chin. Sharibayev’s corner threw in the towel in the 10th round to save him from further punishment.
The 29-year-old Cancio, is from Blythe, California, and Sharibayev was born in Kazakhstan, but currently lives in Miami.
Undefeated prospect Genaro Gamez (8-0, 5 KOs) won a unanimous 8-round decision over Shoki Sakai (23-8-2, 13) in a fast-paced junior welterweight bout. The 22-year-old Gamez is from San Diego, and Saki, 27, is from Japan but based in Mexico City.