Boxing fans were on their feet as Serna, a three-time regional Golden Gloves champion and longtime member of the Azteca Warriors Boxing Club in Beeville, won his first professional boxing match.
Gali came out charging as soon as the bell sounding, marking the beginning of the first round.
But Serna held his ground and took the offensive, landing some punishing blows on his opponent.
The fight was the semi-main event for the inaugural Friday Night Fights contest at the Bee County Expo Center.
Police Chief Joe Treviño brought the excitement to Beeville for the first time. By the end of the evening, it was being announced that the production, organized by Solid Knockout Promotions of Corpus Christi, was already planning a return to Beeville.
“Yes, they’re saying they want to come back,” the chief said. The next event may be this time next year.
“I received an overwhelming positive response,” Treviño said. He had not realized how many boxing and mixed martial arts fans there are in Beeville.
Boxing and MMA fans literally packed the house, most of them paying $20 a head for general admission seats.
Although most of the fans wanted to see Serna’s professional debut that night, everyone was excited about seeing active duty Fort Hood soldier Shane Lees in a mixed martial arts contest with Corpus Christi police officer Joe Lerma.
Lerma outweighed the soldier, 163.2 pounds, to Lees’ 156 pounds. But the 32-year-old combat veteran and recipient of both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals impressed the crowd when he doffed his shirt, showing not an ounce of flab.
Referee Frank Collazo called the fight just 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the first round after Lees lifted Lerma to his shoulders, walked around the ring a few steps and slammed the policeman onto the canvas.
Before Lerma could recover, Lees slammed his opponent with a number of heavy blows from his fists, ending the contest.
It did not hurt that Lees had in his corner his trainer and fellow soldier, 26-year-old Colton Smith.
Smith won the 2012 Ultimate Fighting Championship in his weight class.
Other winners during the night included:
•Leville Simpson, who won in an MMA bout when his opponent, David McAfee, tapped out one minute and 29 seconds into the first round.
•Theodore Johnson, who defeated Daniel Sanchez in a unanimous decision after four rounds of boxing.
•Tristan Grimsley, who defeated Roger Reyes in the first round of an MMA bout.
•Angel Martinez after four rounds of boxing, by a unanimous decision.
“It was a lot of fun,” Treviño said of the experience.
The chief then said he wanted to thank all the fans who attended and the sponsors who donated to the event and purchased the VIP tables.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.