By Doug Rowe
Red Deer Boxer Arash Usmanee experienced the frustration, and discovered why so many former world champions and top contenders have failed to stop California’s Juan Ruiz, in the main event of the KO boxing card in Edmonton, Friday night.
“He is a vet, and he knew every little trick in there,” said Usmanee, 21-2-1. “He was low blowing me all day, and doing little dirty tricks in there but he is a veteran. I had to roll with him. I knew he was awkward but it is a different thing once you’re in the ring though.”
Usmanee came out in the first round looking for the KO, but Ruiz, 23-14, was slick in making him miss. The former five-time Canadian National amateur champion was able to land a couple of solid uppercuts and a straight rights, enough to win the round, but not enough to get the California native in trouble.
In the second round, Ruiz, 35, switched tactics becoming the aggressor. Fighting like a miniature version of his namesake, former WBA Heavyweight champion John Ruiz, he buried his head in Usmanee’s chest, clutched, grabbed, head butted, leaned down and away to his right and than pot-shotted with overhand rights and left hooks, to win his only round of the fight.
The Red Deer boxer made adjustments in the third round, landing one-two’s, uppercuts, and straight rights, enough to win the round and the next three rounds, but was never able to find his rhythm. Usmanee, 32, became so frustrated in the seventh that he picked up Ruiz and body-slammed him. Referee Len Koivisto took a point away from Usmanee and later in the round deducted a point from Ruiz for low blows.
In the eight and final round both boxers upped the tempo with Usmanee, looking for the KO and Ruiz looking to win the round, but the Canadian was able to take the round landing more combinations compared to Ruiz’ single potshots.
Judges scored the bout 78-72 twice for Usmanee, and inexplicably 75-75, for a majority decision win for the Canadian fighter. Fightnews scored the bout 78-72 for Usmanee.
After the bout Usmanee was not pleased with his showing.
“I am not happy with that (my performance). Mentally I was not in the right mindset. I was really prepared for the KO.”