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"Backyard" battles liven local scene

Ringside report and photos by Chris Cozzone

A smoker at the off-strip Silverton Casino last night saw a return to local boxing in Las Vegas with a half-dozen four-rounders and a sixer. The card, promoted by Roy Englebrecht and billed as “Battle in the Backyard” featured a handful of young prospects who kept their records clean against opponents ranging from lifeless to live.

Lightweight Artur “The Punisher” Bernetsyan, of Glendale, Calif., had to work the hardest for his win. In his six-round main event, the Armenian southpaw had to dig deep to pull out a win from Rynell Griffin, of New Orleans, who proved a leap up in class from the tomato cans he kicked around in his first four bouts.

The first two rounds were all Bernetsyan. Though Griffin was certainly game, his wide shots did little to dissuade Bernetsyan from bashing him with occasional right hooks.

The most damage came from two accidental head bangings – at least for Bernetsyan, who came out in round three with a protruding knob on his forehead. After a third clash of noggins, the doc was summoned ringside for a look-see. The fight continued but, from this point on, Griffin was suddenly live. Griffin poured on the aggression in what turned out to be a close round.

The fourth frame, also very competitive and marked with yet a fourth clash-o-heads, became a war of right hands – Bernetsyan’s hook and Griffin’s straight shot. The two stood in front of one another through the fifth, banging away, Bernetsyan mixing it up with body shots, and Griffin headhunting. Tiring, the Armenian sought to tie up through the sixth though Griffin was as game as ever.

After six, the judges ruled in favor of Bernetsyan, 59-55 twice and 58-56. Fightnews had it for the Armenian, 58-56.

Bernetsyan remains undefeated, climbing to 5-0, 2 KOs, while Griffin drops his second bout in a row, falling to 6-4-1, 2 KOs.

Handy Andy

It could be the desperate state of the heavyweight division that brings on the belief that chubby-but-charismatic Andy Ruiz may be the best looking heavyweight in America.

It could also be the lack of opposition he faced in Miles Kelly.

Soft opposition or not, Ruiz’s blazing hand speed (for a physique that makes Chris Arreola look like Timothy Bradley) and smart aggression is something to note as he climbs the ranks of the rank U.S. heavyweight division.

Opponent Miles Kelly was a piece of cake (something Ruiz might know about). Ruiz tore into him early, downing him twice before the stoppage at 1:06.

With the win, Ruiz moves to 5-0, 4 KOs, while Kelly drops his third bout in a row, to 1-4, 1 KO.

Crystal clear in win

Fighting her fourth bout in six weeks, Crystal Hoy (5-3-3, 2 KOs) won a definitive decision over Phoenix’s Allison Cole (1-3), who was coming off a year layoff and two losses.

Unlike her previous recent bouts in Vegas, Hoy was all over her opponent, seeking to land her big left hook. Cole sought to pop her jab and move on the outside, but Hoy’s aggression was too much in all but the third round.

Big power shots from Hoy staggered Cole briefly in the second and punctuated the final round frequently.

Scorecards read 40-36 twice and 39-37.

A question of beard

Undefeated Los Angeles heavyweight Lionel Davis (6-0, 5 KOs) kept his record clean . . . barely.

Seems Kelsey Arnold (4-6-2, 1 KO) forgot to read the script before leaving his corner for round one. Barely 20 seconds into the fight, he landed a bomb of a right hand. Not even Davis’ bushy beard could cushion the blow and he collapsed to the canvas in a heap.

To Davis’ credit, he was up quick enough, somewhat embarrassed and his legs momentarily al dente, and he took back the fight from Arnold, who simply did not follow up on his knockdown (or care to).

Arnold turned suddenly submissive and Davis nearly knocked him over the ropes with a WWF move that should’ve earned him more than a warning from the referee.

The real knockdown came moments before the bell when, in a neutral corner, Arnold now entirely neutralized and disinterested in fighting, let alone winning, allowed himself to be battered down for the count at 2:56.

Turarov’s tussle

In a four-round welterweight fight, Kazakhstan’s Zhankosh Turarov (3-0, 1 KO) got a fight out of Las Vegas’ Johnny Frazier (2-3-3, 2 KOs) in his unanimous decision win.

Turarov stalked Frazier the first two rounds, his lightning-quick counter right hand keeping the Las Vegan moving. In the third round, though, Frazier bloodied the beak of Turarov, who was suddenly reluctant to throw so many punches. Frazier turned it up a notch in the fourth and the two mixed in several exchanges, Turarov’s shots heavier, but Frazier refusing to back down.

All three judges scored it for Turarov, 40-36 and 39-37 twice.

Green blues for Alcolea

In a four-round lightweight bout, Long Beach debuter Paul Green (1-0) spelled the blues for Las Vegas’ Juan Rumaldo Alcolea (2-4, 1 KO), now in a three-bout losing streak.

Not exactly green from the amateur ranks, Green outclassed Alcolea, using a jab to set up his right in the first, then outboxing the persistent Las Vegan with faster, slicker footwork through the third and fourth rounds. Alcolea’s aggression earned him a few licks only in the second round.

All three judges scored it a shutout for Green, 40-36 trice.

Visinia’s re-Ward

What happens when you pit an unwilling 203-pounder against a win-hungry 270-pound Samoan?

Twenty-seven seconds is what happens.

That’s all that Natu Visinia (5-0, 3 KOs), of Carson, Calif., needed to dispatch of outsized and outenthused Michael Ward (1-3, 1 KO), of Ft. Smith, Ark.

Visinia’s quickie kayo, however, did not last quite as long as the groan of frustration Ward released upon hitting the canvas.

Bonus pics

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