Undefeated Prospects Keep Their Zeros in L.A.

LOS ANGELES-Co-main events featuring heavy hitters saw a lot of action but not the knockouts fans expected on Friday night’s fights.

Still it was interesting to see how knockout punchers dealt with experienced opposition.

Speedy featherweight Azat Hovhannisyan (12-2, 10 KOs) unloaded on Mexico City’s Isao Carranza (15-9-1, 8 KOs) to win by unanimous decision in front of a sold-out crowd at Belasco Theater. Carranza was a last-minute replacement on the Golden Boy Promotions card.

Hovhannisyan showed off his dazzling array of combinations and excellent stamina against Carranza. But the Mexican veteran showed his experience in dealing with heavy hitters and how to avoid the finishing blow.

Still, Hovhannisyan showed he belongs among the contenders and Golden Boy Promotion has a load of featherweights and super bantamweights. He should fit in well. After eight rounds all three judges scored it 80-72 for Hovhannisyan.

“The energy of the crowd and being the main event was great,” Hovhanissyan said. “I hurt my hand in the last rounds.”

The other co-main event featured undefeated welterweight prospects Alexis Rocha and Cesar Valenzuela. After eight rounds it was evident who was faster, stronger and hit harder.

Rocha (8-0, 7 KOs), a southpaw, immediately showed off his firepower with resounding blows from the opening bell. But Valenzuela exhibited some tricks up his sleeve and a first class chin in absorbing shots that had felled seven consecutive Rocha opponents.

Not this time.

One other thing this welterweight fight revealed was Rocha’s technique. Not once did he telegraph any blows and also showed a pretty strong right hook that connected often. There were no knockdowns after eight rounds and all three judges scored it 80-72 for Rocha whose older brother is featherweight contender Ronny Rios.

“I knew it was going to be a tough fight when we took it and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to blow him away,” said Rocha, 19. “I feel great.”

Other Bouts

Miami super middleweight Niko Valdes (5-0, 5 KOs) met Mexico’s Ernesto Berrospe (11-11, 6 KOs) in a battle of southpaws. The first saw both land solid blows with the older Berrospe landing first and Valdes retaliating. But in the second round it was Valdes letting loose with a left-right-left combination that sent the Mexican to the floor. He beat the count but when it resumed Valdes charged like a crazed rhino and connected with a lead left followed by four more blow sending Berrospe to the ropes and referee Jack Reiss immediately stopped the fight at 2:26 of the second round.

“This fight I felt a lot more confident,” said Valdes. “I was excited to face an opponent with a lot more experience.”

Tenochtitlan Nava (6-0) won by unanimous decision after six rounds versus taller southpaw Christian Renteria (7-5, 6 KOs) in their featherweight fight. Nava smothered his own punches throughout the fight and allowed the lefty Renteria to land some thudding body shots, especially in the 5th round. But one judge scored it 60-54 for Nava and the others 59-55 and 58-56 for Nava. Renteria walked away shaking his head.

“I would rate my performance as a C+ honestly,” said Nava. “I had trouble blocking his punches.”

Glendora’s Jousce Gonzalez (5-0, 5 KOs) floored Mexico’s Daniel Bastien (4-6, 1 KO) three times in winning by knockout at 2:59 of the first round of a lightweight clash. The first knockdown seemed to be a clash of heads mixed with a short Gonzalez right uppercut. Bastien went down and emerged with a severely bloody nose that appeared to be broken. The fight continued and Gonzalez caught Bastien with a left hook and down he went again. A look of pain crossed Bastien’s face but he continued. A left uppercut floored Bastien a third time but this time there was no count as referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight at 2:59 of the first round.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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