By Rocco Morales at ringside
Photos: Big Joe Miranda
In a scheduled ten round main event clash for the vacant NABO junior featherweight bout, Christopher Martin (22-0-2, 6KO) scored an unpopular unanimous decision victory over hard luck Charles Huerta (16-3, 9KO) on Friday night at The Hangar at the O.C. Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California. Huerta jumped out to an early lead by outboxing Martin in the early rounds and was then able to box evenly and hold off the aggressive charge of Martin for the remainder of the bout to seemingly do enough to secure an upset victory. Huerta boxed well behind his jab and showed excellent ring generalship to seemingly sweep the first half of the fight while Martin relied on trying to land his left hook counters and right cross counters to little effect.
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In the ninth round, sensing his opportunity for victory slipping away, the frustrated Martin resorted to a seemingly intentional low blow that floored Huerta for a couple minutes before action resumed. When action did resume, Martin jumped all over Huerta but was unable to hurt the level headed Huerta who chose not to retaliate for the foul.
With Martin charging hard and likely winning the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds, Huerta brawled with Martin in the tenth round to seemingly assure victory in front of hundreds of his loyal supporters who were on their fight for much of the round. Instead, by scores of 96-94 (twice) and, inexplicably, 99-91 (Jose Cobian), Martin escapes with the victory. FightNews saw the bout as a 96-94 victory for Huerta.
Following the bout, the Huerta camp protested vehemently around press row and claimed it was Huerta’s recent problems with his promoter, Golden Boy, that led to the decision of the referees.
Semi main event action saw Ronny Rios (14-0, 6KO) in his biggest fight to date against slick boxing southpaw, Georgi Kevlishvili (12-2, 3KO). It was a good action fight with Rios using his strong jab, unrelenting body work and quick left hook to outpoint his determined Russian challenger. Rios was cut early in the bout above his left eye, but fought through the blood to win a unanimous decision victory in front of his fervent hometown supporters.
Kevlishvili, fighting for just the second time on American soil, put up a spirited effort but simply lacked the power to keep the Rios off of him. Both fighters gave it their all until the final bell sounded but it was Rios who had his hand raised and who appears ready to move onto bigger and better things while Kevlishvili, if nothing else, is an excellent gatekeeper whose future opponents would be wise not to overlook. Judges scored the bout 78-74, 77-75 and 77-75 in favor of the Golden Boy promoted Rios.
In opening action, a scheduled 4 round junior lightweight contest, Joel Diaz (3-0, 3KO), overwhelmed Kendall Ward (0-3), flooring him a minute into the fight with an overhand right and finishing him off a minute later with repeated unanswered left hooks and right crosses prompting referee, Jose Cobian, to step in and call a halt to the fight at 2:19 of the opening round.