By Francisco Salazar at ringside
Photos: Tom Casino / Showtime
Facing his toughest opponent to date in his professional career, Art Hovhannisyan faced further adversity when he was knocked down halfway through his scheduled 10 round bout. Hovhannisyan shook off the knockdown, finished strong in the final rounds to win a close 10 round split decision victory over former world title holder Miguel Acosta at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, CA.
At the end of the first round, Hovhannisyan scored a knockdown with a lead, overhand right hand to the head of Acosta. Hovhannisyan was not able to follow up as the bell sounded to end the round.
Hovhannisyan was in control of the fight until Acosta dropped him with a counter right hand to the head. Hovhannisyan’s knee hit the canvas and referee Marcos Rosales correctly called it a knockdown.
As the bout progressed, Acosta began timing Hovhannisyan with right hands to the head. Acosta began to let his hands go, also throwing and landing with an occasional left hook.
However, Acosta began to slow down in the ninth round, allowing Hovhannisyan to press the action. Both fighters had their moments in a action-filled 10th round, trading combinations to the head and body.
One judge scored the bout 96-92 in favor of Acosta, while the other two judges scored the bout 95-93 in favor of Hovhannisyan. Fightnews.com scored the bout 96-92 in favor of Hovhannisyan.
“I wanted to end the fight with one punch,” said Hovhannisyan, who had over 200 amateur fights in his career. “I was not hurt by the knockdown. It was a flash knockdown. Every round i was getting stronger and stronger. I could have worked better, but i know i won the fight and i gave the fans a good performance.”
Acosta had an obviously different opinion of the fight.
I’m very sure I won this fight,” said Acosta, who had not fought since a 12 round unanimous decision loss to Richard Abril. “Although he caught me in the first round, I landed more punches throughout the fight. After he knocked me down, i got my confidence back little by little with each round. I knew my conditioning was good and it would carry me into the fight. I wished i only had more rounds to work with.”
The Armenian-born Hovhannisyan, who now resides in Glendale, CA, improves to 15-0-2, 8 KOs. Acosta, from Caracas, Venezuela, drops to 29-6-2, 23 KOs.
Super bantamweight Roman Morales won an eight round unanimous decision over Alexis Santiago. Morales was mostly the aggressor during most of the fight. He dropped Santiago with a right uppercut in the third round. However, to his credit, Santiago was game, fighting back when he could on the inside. Santiago was able to land counter right hands to the head and body whenever he made Morales throw and miss. In the final two rounds, Morales finished strong, landing the more-telling blows to the head and body of Santiago. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Morales, 80-71, 80-71, and 79-72. Fightnews.com scored the bout 79-72. “I tried my best,” said Morales after the fight. “I always want to go out there and show what I got. I listened to my corner and went forward when I could.” Morales, from San Ardo, CA, improves to 11-0, 6 KOs. Santiago, from Las Vegas, NV by way of Phoenix, AZ, falls to 11-3-1, 5 KOs.
Lightweight Jonathan Maicelo stopped Daniel Attah in the third round of a scheduled eight round bout. Maicelo was the busier fighter of the two, landing the more telling blows during the first two rounds, as Attah tried to counter with one big punch. Both fighters had their moments in the third round until the southpaw Attah was dropped by a counter right hand to the head. After Attah got up, Maicelo pressed the action, pinning Attah against the ropes. As Maicelo landed combinations, Attah’s upper body went through the ropes, leaving him defenseless. Referee Dr. Lou Moret intervened and stopped the bout at 2:45, despite protests from Attah. Maicelo, from Callao, Peru, improves to 16-0, 10 KOs, while the Nigerian-born Attah, who resides in Washington, DC, drops to 26-12-1, 9 KOs.
In the walkout bout of the evening, welterweight Francisco Santana won a six round unanimous decision over Larry Smith. Smith started off well, countering Santana with right or left hands to the head. As the bout progressed, Santana pressed the action. He was rewarded by landing shots to the head and body and did so until the final bell. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Santana, 59-55, 59-55, and 60-54. Fightnews.com scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Santana, who hails from nearby Santa Barbara and goes to 13-3-1, 6 KOs. Smith, from Dallas, TX, drops to 10-12, 6 KOs.
Featherweight Rufino Serrano won a lackluster and sloppy six round unanimous decision over Rob Diezel. After the Diezel controlled the first round, Serrano used his speed to beat Diezel to the punch during the next two rounds. An accidental headbutt in the second round opened a cut over the left eye of Diezel. The action slowed down in the second half of the fight, as both fighters did little effectively on offense. Both fighters clenched a lot or missed with wild punches up until the final bell. All three judges scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Serrano, while Fightnews.com scored the bout 58-56 for Serrano, who hails from nearby Santa Maria and improves to 13-4. Diezel, from Seattle, WA, drops to 8-4, 3 KOs.
Middleweight Tureano Johnson knocked out Arturo Rodriguez in the first round of a scheduled eight round bout. Johnson would consistently beat the slower Rodriguez to the punch throughout the round. Johnson threw and landed a left uppercut to the head of Rodriguez, dropping him to the canvas. Rodriguez got to a knee at the count of five and watched referee Marcos Rosales count him out at 1:49. Johnson, from Nassau, Bahamas, goes to 10-0, 7 KOs, while Rodriguez, from San Diego, CA, falls to 13-12, 8 KOs.
Super middleweights Edgar Alvarado and Eric Prado fought to a four round split decision draw. Alvarado landed the more accurate and powerful punches of the two. Prado would start each round strong, but would later get hit hard by counter hooks and crosses. Both fighters had their moments in a competitive fourth round. One judge scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Alvarado, one judge scored the bout 39-37 for Prado, and the third judge scored the bout 38-38. Fightnews.com scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Alvarado, who hails from Riverside, CA and goes to 0-1-1. Prado, from nearby Santa Maria, goes to 0-2-1.
– MMA fighter Ronda Rousey and former middleweight contender Alex Ramos caught the action from ringside.
– Gary Shaw Productions returns to the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez on September 21st.
– Ring announcer was Joe Antonacci.