Ringside at the Belasco: Manuel Avila Survives a Stinker

Manuel Avila Survives – Featherweight contender Manuel “Tino” Avila expected a test but did not figure he would be in a pseudo MMA bout when he met Jose Ramirez on Friday.

After 10 full rounds of grappling, near tackles and one guy coming in with his head time after time, Avila (22-0) somehow managed to pull out a split decision win. The crowd at Belasco Theater was more frustrated than the fighter on the Golden Boy Promotions main event.

In plain language, it was the worst fight of the year. Ramirez (28-7) was allowed to come in with his head, hold and push Avila like a pulling guard for most of the featherweight encounter. Points were finally deducted toward the end of the fight for hitting on the break and holding.

Avila was also to blame. He allowed Ramirez to grapple him to the ropes with impunity to the dismay of the fans that expected a competitive contest. It was pure frustration for everybody. There were no good moments in the fight to speak of. If it were an MMA fight then clearly Ramirez would have won with his clinch tactics. But those Billy goat tactics were deplorable. People expected to see clean punches. Instead Ramirez charged like a linebacker with his head down. Even football players aren’t allowed to use their heads in tackling any more.

After 10 rounds two judges scored it 99-89 for Avila, the other saw it 95-93 for Ramirez.

“I didn’t like this fight, and I feel like it wasn’t a fight,” said Avila. “My opponent wasn’t throwing punches.”

Manuel Avila Survives A Stinker and Other bouts

Pacoima’s Emilio Sanchez (13-0, 9 KOs) out-lasted Mexico’s Diuhl Olguin (10-6-2, 9 KOs) who was a lot tougher than his record showed. Sanchez was hit several times with big shots but returned fire to win by unanimous decision after eight brutal rounds in a super bantamweight match. Olguin was looking for that big blow and that allowed Sanchez to out-punch him. Sanchez was the busier fighter in the last two rounds but no round was easy. One judge saw it 80-72, another 79-73 and the third 77-75 for Sanchez.

“He was a tougher opponent that I thought he was, but we were prepared for that.” said Sanchez. “I had to watch out for his head butts, and keep my distance throughout the fight. I’m excited to be able to finish off the year on a positive note with this victory.”

Pablo Rubio Jr. (8-0, 3 KOs) fought toe to toe for the first two rounds against Mexico’s Francisco Dominguez. After that, he took control as Dominguez tired the last half of the fight with Rubio landing combinations. All three judges saw Whittier’s Rubio the winner after six rounds in their super bantamweight fight. The lanky fighter is managed by L.A. Laker star Metta World Peace.

“I thought it was a great fight, and I faced a tough opponent,” said Rubio. “I know I hurt him twice, and I applaud him for being able to make it through the fight. I’m also thankful for my trainer Rudy (Hernandez), who is the reason why I was able to get this victory tonight.”

It started out as a competitive featherweight fight between Indio’s Luis Coria (2-0) and Laredo, Texas fighter Juan Bryand (1-6-1), but near the end of the first round a fiery exchange resulted in the Texan cringing in a corner and holding his right arm. Coria moved in for the finishing blow but it wasn’t needed. Bryand shook his head when asked if he could continue by referee Zack Young. The fight ended at 2:59 of the first round.

“I’m glad my fans were able to come out and support me,” said Coria, “(the injury) sucks for my opponent, but we know the risks of being a boxer, and I came to get the job done.”

With strong hometown crowd support Tenochtitlan Nava (4-0, 1 KO) remained undefeated by majority decision over New Mexico’s Ricky Vasquez (6-3-1, 2 KOs) after four rounds in a super featherweight match. Nava was the aggressor but Vasquez had his moments. It was pretty close until Vasquez decided to run around the ring without landing punches, especially in the last round. One judge scored it a draw but the other two saw it 39-37 for Nava who is based in L.A.

“I did get frustrated during certain parts of the fight,” said Nava. “He was able to get in and out with ease. At that point, my corner advised me to step in and use my jab to break in.”

Glendale’s Azat Hovhannisyan (10-2, 9 KOs) stormed by Mexico’s Israel Rojas (9-12) with some well-placed blows that had him bloodied within moments after the opening bell. A left hook to the body followed by an uppercut brought Rojas down in sections. The referee stopped the fight immediately at 1:31 of the first round of the lightweight contest.

“Every day we train hard,” said Hovhannisyan who is trained by Edmund Tarverdyan who also trains Ronda Rousey. “That’s what the fans saw, me using my preparation to take on just another fighter as hungry as me.”

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