COSTA MESA, Calif.-Azat Hovhannisyan walked into the lion’s den that is Ronny Rios neighborhood and emerged with a knockout win to retain the WBC America’s super bantamweight title on Friday.
Hovhannisyan (14-2, 11 KOs) out-battled Rios (29-3, 13 KOs) before a sold out audience at the OC Hangar to retain the title. The Golden Boy Promotions card was televised by ESPN2. It was fast and furious while it lasted.
It was the local fighter Rios who jumped out immediately with overhand rights and viciously attacked the body area of the Armenian fighter Hovhannisyan who now lives in Los Angeles. For the first two rounds Rios seemed in control.
Hovhannisyan opened up the artillery in the third round and caught Rios with a straight right that cut the juice in his legs. Somehow Rios stayed on his feet but was overwhelmed by Hovhannisyan who must have fired close to 30 blows. When the bell rang Rios had problems finding his corner as referee Jack Reiss watched closely.
For the next two rounds both Rios and Hovhannisyan seemed out of energy but for different reasons. Neither was able to make a convincing statement but Hovhannisyan was busier.
In the sixth round Rios looked fresher and began moving closer with more deliberateness. He began firing long overhand rights and while looking to fire another he was nailed by Hovhannisyan’s right and down he went. He beat the count but Hovhannisyan launched another flurry of blows and this time Reiss stopped the fight at 1:12 of the sixth round for a technical knockout victory for Hovhannisyan.
Alexis Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs), the younger brother of Rios, blew out Tijuana’s Miguel Dumas (10-2, 7 KOs) in the first round with a five-punch combination to win the vacant WBC Continental America’s welterweight title. A snappy left uppercut by Rocha knocked down Dumas early and that opened the door for the all-out assault by the left-handed slugger Rocha. Referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:49 of the first round.
“I did this for you,” Rocha said to the large partisan crowd from nearby Santa Ana where he lives and trains. “I came in composed and relaxed, just ready for anything to happen. I never plan for a knockout. I’m so happy that I get to take the belt home in front of all my Santa Ana fans.”
A female super middleweight clash saw Maricela Cornejo (10-2, 3 KOs) win by technical knockout at 1:09 in the fourth round over Lisa Garland (15-10, 8 KOs). From the opening bell Cornejo was in control and was able to land thudding blows on Garland.
Though she had a few opportunities to end the fight, Garland survived. But when Garland kept her head in one place too long Cornejo fired a right and another right that connected solidly. Cornejo pounced on her and referee Raul Caiz Jr. saw enough and ended the fight.
In a middleweight fight Marvin Cabrera (7-0, 5 KOs) exchanged knockdowns with Sergio Gonzalez (6-5, 2 KOs) midway through the eight round bout. But overall, Cabrera was usually in control with his jabs and lefts from his southpaw stance. Gonzalez was a very sturdy customer and though he was dropped hard with a counter left in the fourth round, he was able to withstand everything Cabrera fired in his direction. Scores were 79-72 and 78-72 twice for Cabrera.
Photo credit: Al Applerose
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