Petr Petrov Wins Battle of Lightweights at Fantasy Springs Casino



By David A. Avila

INDIO, Ca.-Petr “Zar” Petrov used an all-out attack to break down Michael “The Artist” Perez and win by stoppage in a battle of lightweight contenders on Friday.

Russia’s Petrov (38-4-2, 18 KOs) made the move from Spain and proved he was not Europe’s latest fad in winning by knockout over New Jersey’s Perez (24-2-2, 11 KOs). A large crowd at Fantasy Springs Casino saw Petrov display his strength in the 135-pound division.

Both lightweights started easy in the first round but in the second round each suffered cuts due to head clashes. Petrov immediately stepped on the gas and unloaded back to back overhand rights like he was chopping down a log and floored Perez with the blows. Perez beat the count but was punished the rest of the round.

It took Perez an entire round to recover from the beating in the second, but soon he was able to figure out how to solve the uppercuts and looping right hands. But the incoming fire was still coming in strong from Petrov.

Though Perez was doing better in the fifth and sixth rounds, the blood dripping down his face seemed to impair his vision. At the end of the sixth it was apparent that Petrov was still too strong and the fight was waved off.

“I just did what my trainer Daniel Zamora told me to do. I just worked on him and little by little I broke him down,” said Petrov. “You saw what happened.”

Other bouts

San Diego’s Genaro Gamez (3-0, 3 KOs) showed why he was placed in the semi-main event despite only two pro fights when he knocked North Carolina’s Vernon Alston (9-7-1) out of the ring with a knockout blow in the first round of the lightweight fight.

A Gamez left hook nearly dropped Alston early in the opening frame but he was able to continue. Gamez stepped on the gas and increased the pressure on Alston who was in full retreat and in defensive mode. It didn’t matter. Gamez unleashed some blistering combinations and connected with a powerful left hook that sent Alston flying through the ropes and out of the ring.

“It was awesome,” said Gamez. “I’ve only seen it done in the movies. I liked it. I want to do it again.”

The athleticism and speed of his punches showed why Golden Boy Promotions had faith in his ability.

“I was just putting my punches together but they landed,” said Gamez.

East L.A.’s Jonathan Navarro (7-0, 5 KOs) needed all six rounds to pound out a decision over Florida’s Farkhad Sharipov (4-9) whose main attribute was holding. Navarro, who trains in Riverside under the tutelage of Robert Garcia, was unable to unload more than two punches at a time before Sharipov would grapple him to a standstill. No knockdowns were scored in the welterweight clash that saw Navarro win by unanimous decision.

He was very awkward. He was an MMA fighter and a wrestler and would come in different stances,” said Navarro. “He held a lot and I had to be careful because I was getting tired.”

The awkward fighting style by Sharipov also caused concern for Navarro’s corner man Robert Garcia who advised caution from head butts.

“I tried using my jab but he was too awkward,” Navarro said. “It was a good learning experience.”

Bastie Samir (15-0-1, 14 KOs) knocked down Sijoula Shabazz (6-2, 5 KOs) in the first round and nearly knocked him out. But after that, the tables turned and Samir nearly ran out of gas by the end of six rounds. Still he managed to win a decision by scores 58-55 on all three score cards. It was the first time a Samir opponent went the distance with the fighter from Las Vegas.

Santa Ana’s Alexis Rocha (5-0, 4 KOs) blasted out Colbert Lozoya (7-14) at 1:40 of the first round in their welterweight contest to remain undefeated.

“I never try for the knockout but I try to hurt my opponent to let them know I’m the better fighter,” said Rocha, who is the younger brother of featherweight contender Ronny Rios. “I never want my opponent to gain confidence.”

Luis Coria (1-0) of Indio connected with a left hook that floored Mexico’s Noe Munoz (2-4) at 1:20 of the second round of their super featherweight fight. Coria left more than 100 of his blue t-shirt clad fans ecstatic when he delivered the knockout blow.

Javier Padilla of Indio stopped Richard Morales at 1:16 of the second round of their super bantamweight clash.