By Francisco Salazar at ringside
Photos: Big Joe Miranda
Heavyweight Lance Whitaker has relied on his power to score victories throughout his career. However, he found one unlikely tool that allowed him to defeat Andrey Fedosov on Saturday night; his jab. Whitaker rained a steady amount of jabs on Fedosov, winning a close and controversial 12 round split decision before a boisterous crowd of about 800 at the Palladium in Hollywood, CA.
The bout headlined a “Pandemonium at the Palladium” card, presented by Craig Zimmerman and his MEZ Group Promotions.
The former top contender Whitaker was hoping to rebound from his last bout, a close 10 round unanimous decision defeat to former titleholder Oliver McCall. The hard-hitting Whitaker fought three times last year.
Fedosov impressively knocked out Lionel Butler in the second round in his last bout in January. Prior to Saturday night’s bout against Whitaker, Fedosov had won 15 bouts in a row, a span of about five and a half years.
Fedosov started strong against Whitaker, throwing and landing overhand right hands to the head. Whitaker tried to throw jabs consistently, but Fedosov was aggressive as Whitaker threw punches.
Whitaker was more aggressive in the third round, letting his hands go more. However, Fedosov began to attack the body with hard right hands.
Fedosov scored a knockdown in the fifth round, landing a counter left hook to the head of Whitaker. Not visibly hurt, Whitaker stood up right away and waited for referee Jack Reiss to finish administering the eight count.
Sensing he was behind on the scorecards because of the knockdown, Whitaker was aggressive in the middle rounds. Whitaker was able to connect more and consistently, keeping Fedosov at bay with a hard jab.
Although Fedosov slowed down considerably than in the earlier rounds, he came on in the 10th round, attacking Whitaker’s body with right hands to the body followed by left hooks to the head. It carried over into the 11th round as Fedosov continued to land hard shots to the body.
However, Whitaker came on in the final round, throwing more right hands to the head behind the stiff jab that worked well for him in the second half of the fight. Fedosov tried to amount a rally before the final bell sounded.
One judge scored the bout 115-112 in favor of Fedosov, while the other two judges scored the bout 115-112 and 114-113 in favor of Whitaker. Fightnews.com scored the bout 117-110 in favor of Fedosov.
After the decision was announced, most of the crowd loudly booed the decision, believing that Fedosov did enough to win the fight.
Whitaker, from Van Nuys, CA, improves to 35-6-1, 28 KO’s. Fedosov, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, falls to 21-2, 17 KO’s.
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In the co-feature bout of the evening, Heavyweight Damian Wills won a hard-fought 10 round unanimous decision over hard-hitting Lionel Butler.
Prior to his bout against Butler, Wills had won his last five bouts in a row since a 10 round unanimous decision defeat to Kevin Johnson in August of 2007. Wills’ other defeat was at the hands of Chris Arreola in November of 2007.
The former Heavyweight contender Butler, who has been fighting professionally for over 20 years, was coming off a second round knockout to Fedosov in January.
Wills worked well behind his jab, following those up with a steady amount of right hands to the head. Butler attempted to get on the inside of the taller Wills, where he would let his hands go.
In the second round, Butler’s aggressiveness allowed him to stun Wills with a left hand to the head. Butler was not able to follow up as Wills was able to recover.
Wills controlled the middle rounds, at times dominating the action with hard right hands to the head and lead left hooks as well. Wills and Butler fought in close most of the time, which served well for Butler as he was able to land a fair share of counter right hands.
The pace slowed down in the seventh round. Butler would fight in spurts, throwing combinations after jumping up and down.
In the ninth round, Wills landed a hard right hand that opened a previously-opened cut above the left eye of Butler. Blood came out profusely from the cut, often blinding Butler from seeing the punches coming from Wills.
As Wills went in for the kill, Butler landed a counter left hand to the head that dropped Wills. Although there was a punch, Wills looked as though he was off-balanced as well. Nonetheless, Reiss administered an eight count on Wills, who was not visibly hurt.
Both fighters had their moments in the 10th and final round. Although Butler showed true grit in trading with Wills despite the cut, Wills landed the harder and effective punches of the round.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Wills, with scores of 99-91, 99-91, and 98-92. Fightnews.com scored the bout 98-92 in favor of Wills.
Wills, from Lancaster, CA, improves to 28-2-1, 21 KO’s. Butler, from Venice, CA by way of Bogalusa, LA, drops to 32-17-1, 25 KO’s.
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Lightweight Art Bernetsyan won a four round unanimous decision over Ramon Flores.
The wild-swinging Flores was able to land wild hooks and crosses to the head of Bernetsyan in the first round. Undaunted, the southpaw Bernetsyan was able to counter effectively whenever the Flores charged towards him.
Bernetsyan began to tire Flores by throwing and landing right hooks to the body. Although it did slow him down, Flores still went forward, continuing to throw wild punches. At times, Flores would miss and spin himself around because of his momentum.
Flores had his moments in the fourth round. He landed wild shots to the head, but Bernetsyan continued to land straight left hands behind his jabs consistently until the final bell.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Bernetsyan, with scores of 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37. Fightnews.com scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Bernetsyan.
Bernetsyan, from Glendale, CA by way of Vanadzor, Armenia, improves to 4-0, 2 KO’s. Flores, from Wilmington, CA by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, drops to 3-7-1, 3 KO’s.
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Super Welterweight Johnny Suarez was victorious when Hedi Bouaziz did not come out for the third round of a scheduled four round bout.
This was a sloppy bout between the two fighters, although Suarez did land more punches. Suarez lacked a killer instinct, throwing one-two punches and backing away from his overmatched opponent. When the action was in close, Bouaziz held Suarez with both hands, allowing Suarez to land to the body.
After the second round, Bouaziz looked dizzy, blinking repeatedly as he was sitting on his stool. After the ringside physician checked on Bouaziz, he recommended to referee Jack Reiss to stop the bout, declaring Suarez the winner.
Suarez, from Burbank, CA, goes to 6-3-2, 4 KO’s. Bouaziz, from Los Angeles, CA, loses his third professional bout and is now 1-3.
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Lightweight Alejandro Luna stopped Alejandro Cortez in the third round of a scheduled four round bout.
Luna continuously landed left hooks to the body of Cortez throughout the fight. Cortez attempted to counter, throwing combinations as he pressed the action. Luna dropped Cortez with a left hook to the head towards the end of the third round. Although Cortez got up, Luna pinned Cortez against the ropes and battered him until referee Jack Reiss stopped the bout at 2:59.
Luna, from Whittier, CA, goes to 2-0, 2 KO’s. Cortez, from Hanford, CA by way of La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico, drops to 0-6.
– Promoter Craig Zimmerman stated that he would be interested in making a bout between the winners of the two Heavyweight bouts from Saturday night. That would mean an attractive local Heavyweight bout between Lance Whitaker and Damian Wills. Stay tuned.
– Former contender-turned promoter Kahren Harutyunyan, trainer Jack Mosley, and cutman/ trainer Cassius Green took in the action from ringside.
– Ring announcer was Chris Gregory.
– Four MMA bouts rounded out the card.