1944-03-08 Juan Zurita w pts 15 Sammy Angott, Legion Stadium, Los Angeles, California, USA - NBA

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1944-03-08 Juan Zurita w pts 15 Sammy Angott, Legion Stadium, Los Angeles, California, USA - NBA. Referee: Mushy Callahan. Scorecards: 90-75, 88-77, 85-80. The southpaw Zurita (133½) fought the perfect fight to take the unanimous decision, stabbing out right-hand leads to keep Angott (135) off balance for much of the time while negating the latter’s clutching tactics, blocking left hooks and uppercuts, and countering with rights to both head and body. The Angott who fought Zurita was nothing like the man who beat Slugger White, it quickly becoming apparent that he had obviously weakened himself trying to make the weight. Despite that, Angott was fortunate that the Mexican fireball was not a big puncher, even though he was decisively beaten as the latter both maintained and increased the pressure when required.

Having lost to Beau Jack in a non-title fight in the same month, Zurita took time out before having an accident when a loaded pistol fell to the floor and discharged a bullet into his left hand at the end of May. Following an operation to remove splintered bones, and doctors advising a fair rest to allow for recovery, Zurita was out of the ring until coming back in October to beat Pete Lello and Aldo Spoldi. At the same time the NBA called for Zurita to think of making a defence as soon as possible, and a month later, following wins over Henry Armstrong and Spoldi, John Thomas was booked to meet him on 27 February. Although the fight was cancelled in mid-January when Thomas was called up by the Army, the NBA was insistent that Zurita would still have to defend by the same date or forfeit his title. Ultimately given some leeway by the NBA, Zurita signed to meet the fifth-rated Ike Williams in Philadelphia on 9 April, only to discover that the Pennsylvanian Boxing Commission would only allow the fight to go ahead as a non-title bout as they did not recognise the NBA. With this news Zurita v Williams was immediately switched to Mexico City.