By Felipe Leon
Photos: Leonso Nunez
The boxing circus came to the Pala Resort and Casino in the mountains north of San Diego, CA, when ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” broadcast live a solid fight card presented by Gary Shaw Productions, Cohen Promotions and All-In Entertainment. In the main event, Perm, Russia’s Rustam Nugaev (27-6-1, 17KOs) won via TKO over hard-hitting southpaw Marvin Quintero (25-5, 21KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico, at the end of the fourth round of a scheduled ten in the lightweight division.
The twenty-seven year old Quintero of the famed Tijuana CREA gym of Romulo Quirarte had not climbed into a ring since his unsuccessful title challenge of IBF champ Miguel “Titere” Vazquez in late 2012 while Nugaev has won five straight since his last loss in early 2011. The bout was almost not to be since according to the Quintero camp Gary Shaw Productions finalized his visa paperwork too late and almost was not given one. Quintero missed the official weigh-in on Thursday and after picking up his immigration document on Friday morning he was at the Pala Casino by noon.
Despite being taller and longer, Nugaev chose to fight at a short distance from the opening bell allowing the much more mobile Quintero to score impressive combinations and then quickly pivot out of harm’s way. In the second Nugaev was able to catch up to Quintero and score some power punches to the body and head but Quintero was still scoring the better punches with more frequency. Unfortunately during the round Quintero re-injured his left hand when landing a punch. Quintero kept fighting and controlled the third with the same intelligent boxing while Nugaev ploddingly followed him around the ring. Nugaev had his best round in the fourth as he had no trouble trapping Quintero against the blue corner and go to work to the body and head. Quintero tried to slide out by the much bigger and stronger Nugaev was able to keep him in place. Finally at the end of the round Quintero was able to slip the attack but when he landed a straight left to the forehead of Nugaev he winced in pain right at the bell.
As Quintero sat on his stool the ringside doctor was called and after a quick examination he determined the left hand was fractured. At the doctor’s suggestion, referee Pat Russell called the fight at the end of the fourth round.
Roberto Quirarte, son of Romulo Quirarte, later shared with Fightnews that Quintero originally hurt his hand some weeks ago in Las Vegas while sparring with former champion Jorge Linares. He quickly returned home and had it checked by his doctor who recommended a short rest but good enough to participate in last night’s main event. Official time was 3:00 of the fourth round.
Morales Batters Suleymanov
In the eight round bantamweight semi-main event, northern California’s Roman Morales (18-0, 10KOs) needed a round to warm up but then battered the “Crazy Russian” Khabir Suleymanov (16-4, 6KOs) of Los Angeles by way of Chelyabinsk, Russia, dropping him five times en route to a unanimous decision win.
After the first round in which Morales figured out the herky-jerky style of Suleymanov, Morales quickly dropped him in the second with an overhand right hand. Morales went for the finish with a flurry of punches as Suleymanov had his back to the ropes and as Khabir tried to get low, Morales forced Suleymanov to touch the canvas with his gloves scoring another knockdown.
As the fight went on, Morales felt more comfortable with Suleymanov’s style and was able to increase his touches every round. Khabir attacked the body with jabs and looked to follow up with wild and wide over hand rights but didn’t have much luck landing anything meaningful.
Another solid right dropped Suleymanov in the fifth. With three knockdowns against him, Suleymanov now looked frantic as he tried to regain some ground but Morales was more precise and was able to catch Khabir, as he would come in. To his credit Suleymanov had his best round in the sixth as he settled down a bit and scored a good left uppercut followed with solid right hand. Suleymanov began to push the fight. Suleymanov kept up the pressure in the second round and he began to score more but Morales was still able to counter punch with rights. Khabir began to bleed from cuts over both eyes.
Morales put the icing on the cake in the eight and final round sending Suleymanov to the canvas twice from flush right hands. No surprise at the end of eight when all three judges, Alejandro Rochin, Max DeLuca and Tom Taylor, scored it with Morales with scores of 79-68 twice and 80-67 respectively.
Hernandez-Harrison Survives Scare
In the opening bout of the telecast, Washington D.C.’s undefeated teenager Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (21-0, 11KOs) remained so by surviving a second round knockdown to win a unanimous decision over Honolulu’s Michael Balasi (10-4, 7KOs) in a welterweight six rounder.
The taller Hernandez-Harrison stuck first with a quick straight left from the southpaw stance in the second that dropped Balasi. Not to be outdone the stocky Hawaiian got up and went after Hernandez-Harrison and dropped him with a hard left hook to the chin scoring only the second knockdown of Dusty’s career. Hernandez-Harrison went back to boxing in the middle rounds and controlled the action scoring good straight lefts that almost never missed its mark. Balasi kept pressuring and forcing the exchanges but Dusty was too precise with his punches.
Hernandez scored another knockdown in the fifth with a straight right that forced Balasi to take a knee to stop the incoming onslaught. Another punch caused a cut over Balasi’s left eye. With the fight in the bag, Hernandez-Harrison did the smart thing and pot shot Balasi in the sixth and final round not taking Balasi’s bait to stand and exchange. Scores at the end were 60-53 and 59-54 twice.
Garcia and Herrera in War
In the most action packed fight of the night, popular local fighter Aaron “Gavilan” Garcia (14-3-2, 4KOs) took a unanimous decision with scores of 40-36 three times over late-sub Thomas “Animal” Herrera (3-10-1, 1KO) of Los Angeles. It was a war as both landed power punches from the opening bell but Garcia scored the more precise and harder punches.
A head butt in the third cut Garcia over the left eye but he continued to look for the knockout landing uppercuts through the middle of Herrera’s wide punches and following up with hard punches to the body. The last round was one of attrition as both went toe to toe to the delight of the pro-Garcia crowd. After the all-out four rounds judges Alejandro Rochin, Max DeLuca and Tom Taylor all scored it 40-36 for Garcia.
Whittier, CA’s Alejandro “El Charro” Luna (17-0, 13KOs) didn’t hesitate to score his thirteenth knock out win with a devastating left hook flush to the chin of late sub Sergio Rivera (18-15-2, 11KOs) of Huatabampo, MX. Official time was 1:29 of the first of a scheduled lightweight eight.
Tough Jorge Pimentel (27-22, 20KOs) of Guaymas, Mexico, couldn’t take the body attack from Francisco Santana (19-3-1, 9KOs) and went down twice in the third of a scheduled middleweight six to lose via TKO at the 3:00 mark of the round. San Antonio’s Mario “Golden Boy” Barrios (2-0, 1KOs) scored his second pro win with a unanimous decision over Lionel Kelly (0-3) of Los Angeles, CA, who is still looking for his first win as a professional. Barrios dropped Kelly in the second with a solid right hand and from then on looked for the knock out with good aggressive boxing but Kelly was able to survive the four rounds in the super bantamweight division. Scores were 40-35 three times.
Amateur national champion Eduardo Martinez (1-0) made his first time as a pro a good one with a unanimous decision of 40-36 three times over Juan Urbina (0-1-1) of Jalisco, Mexico, in the super bantamweight division. The fight was a lot closer than the scores reflected as both threw and landed plenty of punches. Martinez of Chicago, Illinois did score the harder and more effective punches but Urbina was there the whole time.
In a run-of-the-mill welterweight four rounder, Chicago, Illinois’ Kenneth “Bossman” Sims Jr (1-0) darted is way in and out with a jab and right to earn a unanimous decision over Cory “Shadow” Muldrew (1-6) of Chandler, Arizona. The most action seen from Muldrew was when he shook his head every time Sims Jr landed anything meaningful. Scores was a lopsided 40-36 three times.