LOS ANGELES-Ukrainian transplant Ismayl “Smiles” Sillakh took the dangerous step of moving up to the cruiserweight division and beat Michigan’s Mitch Williams on Saturday night.
Sillakh (19-1, 15 Kos) used his height, reach and quickness to floor Williams with a body shot midway through the eight round fight in front of more than 1,000 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. From there on the new cruiserweight was in cruise control on the All Star Promotions card.
“I think I could have stopped him but my corner said don’t get caught,” Sillakh said. “He was very strong. I felt his punches.”
Now living in Los Angeles, the tall Sillakh had a big height advantage over the stout but muscular southpaw Williams. Still, it wasn’t easy to attack the crouching style of the Michigan fighter. It was even more dangerous after Williams was floored from a body shot in round four.
Williams (7-3-1) tried his best to set up his bombs for the next four rounds, but Sillakh was careful to not fire too many combinations. Instead he pot-shotted here and there especially with the counter right cross.
After eight tactical rounds, Sillakh won by unanimous decision 79-72 on all three judge’s score cards.
“I’m pleased because it was my first fight at cruiserweight,” he said. “The guy was very strong and very hard to hit.”
East L.A.’s Jaime “Fabian” Ocegueda (8-0-1, 5 Kos) muscled his way to victory over veteran southpaw Rynell Griffin (6-13-2) after six rounds in a junior welterweight match. Each round was hard fought, but Ocegueda managed to out-point Griffin according to the judges 59-54 and 60-53 twice. It was a good performance by each fighter.
Burbank’s Karihi Tehei (3-0) survived a second round knockdown to rally and beat Whittier’s Humberto Zatarain (3-1-1) after six rounds of a featherweight clash. Zatarain lost steam during the last three rounds and allowed Tehei to mount a counter attack and win a split decision.
Oxnard’s Javier “Pelos” Garcia (9-2-2, 8 Kos) returned to the ring after five months and defeated Omar Avelar (2-6) by knockout at 29 seconds of round two. Garcia had battered Avelar in the first round and almost ended it then. Avelar told the ringside physician he was able to continue but Garcia proved otherwise with a calculated attack including a body shot that forced referee Wayne Hedgepeth to halt the action.
Oxnard’s Irving Garcia (10-1, 6 Kos) used his superior strength to break down the stubborn Osman Rivera (2-5) of Highland Park and win by technical knockout at 2:56 of round six. Until the final round both was were exchanging liberally.
In perhaps the best action fight of the night, Thomas Gray won his pro debut over Oxnard’s Josue Garcia (1-1) by majority decision after four rounds. Both junior middleweights fired plenty of shots and had good skill. Gray proved more accurate especially with the combinations. Garcia had his moments too with heavy punches. Many in the crowd gave a standing ovation after the fight concluded, including special guest actor Martin Lawrence.
Jonathan Hamm (5-1, 4 Kos) knocked out Ethan Cox (2-8-2) in round three; heavyweights Charles Martin (5-0-1, 5 Kos) and Alvaro Morales (6-12-7) fought to a majority draw; Vladimir Gavrilov (2-0) blitzed Justin Santistevan (0-2) with a body attack and won by first round knockout.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV