Azat Hovhannisyan Stuns Ronny Rios on ESPN
March 10, 2018
Anthony Saldana (77 articles)
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Azat Hovhannisyan Stuns Ronny Rios on ESPN


By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña


Photo: Cynthia Saldaña/Supreme Boxing

COSTA MESA, CALIF. — Friday night the Golden Boy on ESPN series hit “The Hanger” located inside of the Orange County Fairgrounds. Headlining the four card bout was hometown hero and Santa Ana, California native Ronny Rios (29-3, 13 KO’s) as he went toe-to-toe with the always tough Azat Hovhannisyan (13-2, 11 KO’s) from Glendale, California for Hovhannisyan’s WBC Continental Americas Super Bantamweight Title.

From the opening bell, both fighters shot out of their corners throwing quick solid punches with bad intentions with neither fighter taking a step backwards. The solid back and forth action continued through the first two rounds. Then in the third round, the tide began to change as Hovhannisyan began beating Rios to the punch as he landed a solid combination hurting Rios for the first time in the bout.

Photo: Cynthia Saldaña/Supreme Boxing

Hovhannisyan continued to punish Rios in the round landing a barrage of unanswered punches as Rios laid against the ropes. When the closing bell to the third round rang, Rios wobbled to the corner out on his feet. The fourth round wasn’t much better as an accidental headbutt raised a large hematoma on the right side of Rios’ forehead. Rios looked as if he turned the fight around in the fifth, but in the sixth tasted the canvas as Hovhannisyan landed a solid right cross.

Photo: Cynthia Saldaña/Supreme Boxing

Rios beat the count, but never fully recovered from the beating he had received throughout the fight. Hovhannisyan continued landing an onslaught of punches forcing referee Jack Reiss to step in and call a halt to the bout of the 1:12 mark of the round.

“I knew I was going to stop him early, but then my right hand started to hurt. When my hand started hurting more, so I went for the stoppage,” Hovhannisyan said. “Freddie [Roach] kept me calmed between rounds. I’m ready for a world title shot. I want any champion at 122 pounds.”

In the co- Main event, Rios’ younger brother and undefeated Golden Boy welterweight Alexis “Lex” Rocha (11-0, 8 KO’s) captured the WBC Continental Americas title as he took on Miguel Dumas (10-2, 7 KO’s) from Tijuana, Mexico. Rocha wasted no time in using vicious combinations to hurt Dumas. Rocha then caught Dumas with a big left uppercut flooring his opponent. Dumas beat the count but seconds later Rocha finished the show with a series of devastating blows to the head that completely knocked out Dumas. Referee Edward Hernandez stopped the fight at the 1:49 mark, with Dumas still out on the canvas.

“I came in composed and relaxed, just ready for anything to happen,” Rocha said. “I never plan for a knockout. I’m so happy that I get to take the belt home in front of all my Santa Ana fans.”

In the television swing bout, local fan favorite “La Diva” Maricela Cornejo (9-2, 2 KO’s) looked to get one step closer to a world title as she entered the ring against Lisa Garland (15-9, 8 KO’s) from York, South Carolina. Cornejo came out early utilizing a stiff jab and great overall ring generalship to out class and out box Garland. Cornejo turned up the heat in the fourth round and began landing big right hands hurting Garland and forcing her to use the ropes to keep her up, thats when referee Raul Caiz Jr. had seen enough and called a halt to the bout.

“Winning the day after Women’s International Day is a huge accomplishment for me. I hope that my win inspires more women to go into the gym,” Cornejo stated. “For this fight, I knew I was going to knock her out within the first round, but had to get around her smothering me. Once I was able to break through, I was able to work it.”


(Feature photo: Cynthia Saldana/Supreme Boxing)

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Anthony Saldana