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Former UNLV boxer Henry Namauu avenges loss to Erick Vega

Namauu can finally close chapter on Vega, who defeated Namauu in his professional boxing debut

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Steve Marcus / Las Vegas Sun

Former UNLV boxer Henry Namauu, right, connects on Erick Vega of Phoenix during the sixth round of a cruiserweight fight at the Orleans on Friday. Namauu won the six-round bout by unanimous decision.

Namauu vs. Vega

Former UNLV boxer Henry Namauu, left, lands a punch on Erick Vega of Phoenix during the first round of a cruiserweight fight at the Orleans on Friday. Namauu won the six-round bout by unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »

Orleans undercard

Rocco Santomauro of Las Vegas prepares for a bantamweight bout against David Yanez, also of Las Vegas, during an undercard bout at the Orleans on Friday. Launch slideshow »

Two years ago, Henry Namauu lost his professional boxing debut in the first round when Erick Vega caught him with a hard overhand right less than a minute into the fight.

Namauu ate the exact same shot from Vega in the fourth round of their rematch Friday at the Crown Boxing event at the Orleans.

Only this time, Namauu didn't go down.

"He hit me with the same shot in the fourth round," Namauu said. "Same place, same spot, same intensity. I looked at him like, 'Not this time, chief. You better come with something a lot better than that.'"

The former UNLV student went on to dominate Vega for much of their cruiserweight fight, claiming a unanimous-decision win in which judges awarded him all but one of six rounds.

It was a special win for Namauu, who said that the loss to Vega two years ago had haunted him ever since.

According to Namauu, Vega's trainers weren't forthcoming before their prior fight about their fighter's amateur record and accomplishments, which include nearly representing Mexico in the 2004 Olympics.

"He took advantage of me and when somebody does that to you, you've got to get yours back," Namauu said. "His people set me up. They told me he only had a handful of amateur fights. I didn't find out until I was in the ring.

"I walked out to no music. I had no robe. He came out with all glitz and glam and females walking out with him."

Namauu said that after Friday's win he can finally close the chapter on his professional debut.

And what sweet closure it was.

Namauu had Vega in trouble from the start, stunning him against the ropes in the first round.

In the fourth, after Vega landed his first big shot of the night, Namauu actually seemed to grow stronger. He countered with a left hook that would have put Vega down had he not fallen against the ropes enough to compose himself.

The 25-year-old Namauu is known for being a power puncher; all of his previous professional wins had come by knockout.

One man that can attest to this is UFC heavyweight Gilbert Yvel, who has sparred with Namauu for the last year.

"Henry hits very hard, I know," said Yvel, who attended the fight. "One time he hit me so hard, I slipped and fell over. If he would have landed it flush, I know he would have knocked me out. I saw double for a full minute."

The win sets up another possible rematch for Namauu, this time against Victor Barragan.

Namauu lost to Barragan in March by unanimous decision but says he likes his chances to avenge that loss as well.

"My coach always tells me I don't get second chances, but I've gotten two now with Vega and Barragan," Namauu said. "With Victor, I beat myself in that fight. Give me another 30 seconds and I would have knocked him out."

Undercard Results:

Lightweights: Rocco Santomauro def. David Yanez via unanimous decision.

Welterweights: Alexis Santiago def. Rodrigo Romero via knockout at :29 of second round.

Featherweights: Jairo Delgado def. Brian Battease via unanimous decision.

Welterweights: Raul Duhart def. Juan Alcolea via unanimous decision.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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