No dreamscape for 'Nightmare'
Martirosyan struggles, but beats Ouma
Ringside report and photos by Chris Cozzone
In what was, neither, a nightmare loss for one, nor a dream win for the other, Vanes “Nightmare” Martirosyan retained his pair of belts and perfect record with an imperfect-but-gutsy decision win over Kassim “The Dream” Ouma, last night at the Hard Rock Hotel’s The Joint in Las Vegas.
In command for most of the fight, Martirosyan weathered Ouma’s persistent aggression, a left eye injury and a flash knockdown in the ninth round, to spring back at the former champ with big right hands thrown behind a somewhat solid plan to box and move.
The 10-round NABF/NABO super welterweight title defense headlined a five-bout card, three of which were televised on the new “Top Rank Live” series on Fox Sports En Espanol.
Ouma’s southpaw stance gave Martirosyan little trouble in the opening rounds. Catching Ouma coming in, Martirosyan fought going back, timing big rights and several left hooks.
In the third, Ouma had his first success, manhandling Martirosyan for the first two minutes and forcing the fight. The former Olympian might’ve stolen back the round in the last 45 seconds, though, plastering Ouma’s face with several crisp rights.
Ouma continued to walk into punches through the fourth, tasting nearly everything Martirosyan threw his way and landing little but an unintentional headbutt.
Just when you thought Ouma was starting to slip, the Ugandan came on strong in the fifth, definitively winning his first round by tattooing Martirosyan with straight lefts. Showing mettle, Martirosyan brawled with Ouma through the sixth, both landing clean power shots in back-and-forth action.
For the next two rounds, Martirosyan returned to boxing on his bike, making Ouma pay with potshot right hands. What looked like an easy cruise through the final round was suddenly disrupted in the ninth round when Ouma’s sent Martirosyan to the canvas with a straight left.
In what was his most impressive move all night, Martirosyan sprang back from the canvas in record time before Referee Kenny Bayless could begin to count, landing back on his feet faster than he’d been sent down. When the fight resumed, Martirosyan, unfazed by the flash knockdown, showed a bit of concern over a swelling left eye, though closed the round by returning fire, landing his best shots of the night and clearly hurting Ouma.
Finishing strong, Martirosyan outboxed for much of the round, then landed another series of bombs that buckled Ouma’s legs as the fight came to a fast finish.
All three judges saw Martirosyan a clear winner, scoring the bout 97-93 twice and 97-92. Fightnews.com was in agreement, with 97-93.
“I made it harder than it had to be,” said Martirosyan. “It was on me.”
Martirosyan remains undefeated, 27-0, 17 KOs while Ouma slips to 26-7-1, 16 KOs, coming up short in five out of his last six bouts.
Magdaleno outboxes Robles
With the original co-main nixed – a ten-round featherweight bout between Oxnard’s Miguel Angel Garcia (19-0, 16 KOs) and Mexican Joksan Hernandez (17-1, 10 KOs), who suffered visa problems – a four- and eight-rounder made the Fox telecast.
In the opening TV bout, Las Vegas super featheweight Diego Magdaleno (13-0, 3 KOs) outworked .500 fighter Gerardo Robles (9-9, 5 KOs), of Kansas City, Mo., for a near-shutout decision.
Zipping in and out of range and offering more angles than Robles could figure out what to do with, the southpaw Magdaleno landed jab after left after jab. Robles tried to turn the clinic into a fight in the second, but unintentional head clashes had him hurting more than anything the light-hitting Magdaleno could bomb him with.
Magdaleno loaded up with body shots in the third, but Robles had figured out his flashy opponent by catching him with rights coming in. Magdaleno kept to task, boxing and landing lefts. By the sixth, Robles showed a bit of wear.
By the eighth, Robles, unable to crash Magdaleno’s party, resorted to clinching and wincing from several more head clashes.
One judge saw a shutout, 80-72, while the other two had it 78-74, all for Magdaleno. Fightnews gave Robles one round, scoring it 79-73 for Magdaleno, who remains undefeated and in need of a sterner test than Robles was able to offer.
Amateur dynamo, 12-time national champion Jose Benavidez (1-0, 1 KO), of Phoenix, under the charge of Freddie Roach, made his pro debut with a swift and simple dismantling of outsized, outmatched Steven Cox (1-1, 1 KO), of Independence, Mo.
After pursuing his victim for the first half-minute, Benavidez let loose with a right-left combo that floored Cox. The overwhelmed Missourian beat the count with a bloody nose, then sprinted out of range when the fight resumed.
Benavidez corralled Cox in his corner and wailed away until Ref Mora waved off the slaughter.
Official time was 1:21.
“I’ve waited a long time to turn pro,” said the 17-year-old phenom. “My plan is to be a world champion someday.”
Sillakh shellacks Jackson
In the opening bout of the evening, off-TV, cruiserweight Ismayl Sillakh (10-0, 9 KOs), of Simi Valley, Calif., had a ridiculously easy time with reluctant foe Julius Jackson (3-6-1), of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sillakh chased Jackson around the ring with a light jab for the first minute. Cornering him in the neutral corner, Sillakh landed a right hand that might’ve been lighter than his pawing jab, at which point Jackson glued himself to the canvas where Referee Russ Mora counted him out at 1:27.
Lenk dusts Dusten
In the final bout of the evening, local super lightweight Anthony Lenk (6-1, 3 KOs) sprang back from his first defeat to outwork Dusten Guillemin (3-5, 1 KO), of North Platte, Neb.
Guillemin was game but the Vegas southpaw had an easy time outboxing from the outside, landing countless lefts on his clumsy-footed foe. There was nothing to differentiate one round from another until the sixth, when Referee Jay Nady made a bad call, declaring a trip to the canvas for Lenk to be a knockdown.
Scorecards read 59-55 twice and 58-56, all for Lenk.