‘L.A. Fight Club’ results: Azat Hovhannisyan handles Isao Carranza
Azat Hovhannisyan dazzled his way to an easy unanimous decision win over Isao Carranza on Friday night but he still managed to put on a show. The fight was the main event of an “L.A. Fight Club” card put on by Golden Boy Promotions, which was broadcast live on Estrella TV and streamed on RingTV.com.
Maybe the cheers of “AZAT!” spurred on this Armenian featherweight from Glendale, California, but the joy Hovhannisyan produced in the ring was so authentic, there was no doubt the spring in his step would’ve transpired under any setting.
Hovhannisyan, 12-2 (10), commanded attention at the Belasco Theater by disregarding any feeling-out process and unraveling combinations that were pushed forward by his aggressive nature. Carranza, who came in from Mexico City as a late replacement, had to feel the extent of this energetic fighter, who often switched stances on him as either a sign of his own comfort or another way to show he was having fun in there.
Carranza, 15-9-1 (9), was a bit put off by the fast start Hovhannisyan unleashed and just never fully recovered. The 30-year-old had no answer for the short combos landed on his head and a jab to his body kept him from gauging the correct distance, even though he had a size advantage. On more than one occasion, Carranza was bamboozled by the active Hovhannisyan and sometimes lost him in the ring while behind his guard. By the sixth round, Carranza’s eyes were battered into a swollen mess but he never gave up, despite the ball of fire in front of him. Not surprising for a guy who is half-Mexican and half-Japanese.
This main event wasn’t anything immensely important to the featherweight division but Hovhannisyan perhaps made a few fans in Los Angeles on this night, with how he performed. In front of a predominantly Mexican crowd, he almost let them slip out of his hands by running around the ring in the final seconds of the fight but, once the decision was read – all three scores were 80-72 in his favor – there was no other option but to cheer a guy who gave them something to see.
“I got the win tonight – the energy of the crowd and being the main event was great,” said Hovhannisyan. “I hurt my hand in the last rounds and I was only fighting with one hand – that’s why they call me ‘Crazy A’ in the ring. You don’t know what you’ll get from me.”
Alexis Rocha picked Cesar Valenzuela apart for eight rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory in a contest between unbeaten welterweights.
Fighting out of the southpaw stance, Rocha, Santa Ana, California, quickly made it known who the more technically sound fighter was and proceeded to give his counterpart a boxing lesson. Valenzuela had to come all the way from El Paso, Texas to receive it and, by the end of the first round, his face was already reddened and grimacing. Rocha, 8-0 (5), was as poised as one could possibly be at 19 years old and, by controlling the middle of the ring throughout the fight, had Valenzuela expending energy trying to connect. Armed with a stiff jab, Rocha used it to keep his opponent at bay, while it set up a left hand that consistently touched the body and head of Valenzuela. Valenzuela, 7-1 (2), sometimes found a way to land a winging right hand but, more often than not, Rocha was stepping back as his foe lunged forward and countered with whichever hand he wanted. The intrigue of a fight between young, undefeated prospects wore off by the final round but that didn’t matter to Rocha, as he put on perhaps his best performance to date.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight when we took it and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to blow (Valenzuela) away,” said Rocha. “I feel great. Not many 19-year-olds can say they can go all eight rounds or say that they have eight straight victories.”
In the opening bout of the Estrella TV telecast, Niko “Baby Face” Valdes wiped out Ernesto Berrospe in two rounds. The super middleweight contest was scheduled to go six.
Had it gone the distance, it would’ve been a bad look for Valdes, who was fighting a man who looked old enough to be his father. Remarkably, Berrospe is listed at 31 years old and, if that is indeed the case for the Mexican from Guadalajara, Father Time hasn’t been too kind. Berrospe, 11-11 (6), was as off-kilter technically as he was age-defying but the southpaw at least tried to bite down and land a big shot. Valdes, 23, ate one of those shots in the first round but seamlessly shrugged it off. In the second round, Valdes, a southpaw himself, was patient to unleash his left hand and once measuring his jab, did so with fury. One of them caught the temple of Berrospe and dropped him to the canvas for a knockdown. Once time resumed, Valdes had his opponent shelled up against the ropes and the fight was stopped by referee Jack Reiss at the 2:26 mark.
“It’s been only a little over a year since I’ve been a professional and, this fight, I felt a lot more confident,” said Valdes, who fights out of Miami, Florida. “I usually can’t even sleep on the night before a fight and, this time, I felt like I prepared enough to make sure I won in the ring, which makes a huge difference in my performance. I was excited to face an opponent with a lot more experience.”
Tenochtitlan Nava earned a unanimous decision win over Christian Renteria to remain unbeaten but the Los Angeles product was certainly in a tough fight during six rounds of featherweight action.
Fighting against a southpaw, Nava, a right-hander, was aggressive with his attack right out of the gate. Renteria, Tijuana, Mexico, traded with Nava blow-for-blow in the opening round and it set the precedent for a pleasing fight overall for those watching. Nava, 6-0 (1), was the busier of the two and, as the shorter man, constantly wanted to get the fight on the inside, where he had the advantage. That was clear midway through the fight, where it seemed like he was winning but, starting in the fourth round, Renteria committed to a body attack that gave Nava a lot of trouble. Renteria, 7-5 (6), gave Nava much to think about with those left hands to the gut and left open opportunities upstairs for the rest of the fight. By the end of the slugfest, Nava’s right eye was swollen and, while that won’t show on his record, he had to earn the “W” in this one.
“I would rate my performance as a C+, honestly,” said Nava. “I need to start sparring other fighters who are southpaws or more left-handed fighters. I could feel (Renteria’s) power faded as the rounds progressed but I had trouble blocking his punches. Having the crowd here was motivating but it also feels like you have more to prove and you feel the pressure to win.”
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, Jousce Gonzalez scored three knockdowns of Daniel Bastien in the opening round to achieve a knockout victory. The lightweight contest was scheduled for four rounds.
Once Gonzalez, 5-0 (5), landed a check left hook, it was just about over. Bastien, Monterrey, Mexico, shelled up after it landed on his face, and that gave Gonzalez the opportunity to get his hands on the inside. A right uppercut dropped Bastien moments later and, with his nose bleeding profusely from the shot, the fight was way over. Bastien, 4-6 (1), rose with his face already a bloody mess and another right hand from Gonzalez put him back on the ground seconds later. Just after the 10-second clap warned the ending of round one, it seemed Bastien had a chance to use the stool in his corner but with three seconds left, a final right hand from Gonzalez sealed his fate and referee Jack Reiss immediately waved off the bout.
“I actually wish it went longer, I really wanted to get more rounds in!” said Gonzalez, a 21-year-old prospect out of Glendora, California. “When I took the fight, I knew (Bastien) had more ring experience and had gone the distance with a couple of guys, so I was expecting to go the full rounds. Once I hurt him with the right hand uppercut that gave him the bloody nose, I couldn’t let him continue further. I had to stop him.”