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Azat “Crazy A’ Hovhannisyan KOs Manzanilla in WBA Eliminator

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  • Azat “Crazy A’ Hovhannisyan KOs Manzanilla in WBA Eliminator

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    By David A. Avila

    DOWNTOWN L.A.-If any doubts remain about Azat “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan they were squashed as he knocked out Venezuela’s Franklin Manzanilla with a body shot to win the WBA super bantamweight elimination fight on Thursday.

    “This was an easy fight at first,” said Hovhannisyan.

    Hovhannisyan (18-3, 15 KOs) was looking to earn another world title shot and Manzanilla (18-6, 17 KOs) was blocking his way. Before a small but vocal audience at Belasco Theater the bearded Armenian trained by Freddie Roach took full advantage of the second chance with an aggressive nonstop attack.

    The last time Hovhannisyan lost was the last and only time he challenged for a world title when he fought Rey Vargas for the WBC title a year ago. It was a learning experience.

    Manzanilla’s last loss was also to Vargas and he too sought another opportunity to challenge for a world championship strap. It just wasn’t to be for the tall skinny South American fighter.

    Both fought fiercely from the opening bell. Manzanilla was the taller fighter and had longer arms but that only seemed to allow Hovhannisyan an opportunity to charge in with both arms pumping like super charged pistons. He never allowed the Venezuelan room to use his reach.

    Manzanilla tried battling back and in the fourth round he made a big move. But Hovhannisyan barreled in and kept pummeling the Venezuelan who kept his guard up and slipped numerous blows, but he couldn’t avoid them all. A winging right to the body by Hovhannisyan put Manzanilla down to the floor and he could not beat the count at 2:58 of the fourth round. Hovhannisyan was ruled the winner by knockout and now has the right to face the WBA super bantamweight titlist Danny Roman who had to pull out of a scheduled defense on Sept. 13 due to injury. It remains to be seen what the WBA will decide for Hovhannisyan.

    The Armenian fighter only cared about his win.

    “I could have made it a 12-round fight and he would not have touched me,” said Hovhannisyan. “I wanted to make it a tough fight. I didn’t even feel his punches.”

    Ever since Hovhannisyan arrived in Los Angeles in 2011 the Armenian fighter has never had an easy journey. But despite a few losses he’s gathered more insight into the professional fight world and made the adjustments. Sometimes a loss can add another dimension to a fighter’s arsenal. Hovhannisyan seems to have added that extra gear.

    Other Bouts

    Puerto Rico’s Edwin Valentin (9-0, 8 KOs) charged aggressively throughout the lightweight fight looking for the knockout against Colombia’s Julio Bassa, but the crafty southpaw veteran knew how to avoid becoming the ninth consecutive knockout victim.

    Valentin worked the body aggressively and showed power in both hands but stopped using the jab and then repeated the same combinations. Bassa picked up on Valentin’s patterns and began countering with straight lefts. More than a few landed but Valentin was too strong and after eight rounds he was the clear winner 79-73 on all three cards.

    “It was a fight with an experienced warrior,” said Valentin. “This fight will help in the long run.”

    James Wilkins (8-1, 6 KOs) pretty much dominated Mexico’s Luis May (21-16-1, 13 KOs) all six super featherweight rounds. The Puerto Rican from New York floored May with a straight right in the third round but wasn’t able to finish the Mexican from Cancun. Two judges scored it 59-54 and a third 60-53 for Wilkins.

    “I boxed and I boxed smart,” said Wilkins who lives in Staten Island. “I fought a veteran and I feel I did great.”

    Chicago super middleweight Chris Ousley (12-0, 9 KOs) was the winner after six rounds by decision against El Paso’s Even Torres (7-9, 5 KOs). Both fighters preferred to fight inside where most of the punches were directed to the body. Ousley was the busier fighter until the last round when Torres increased the tempo in trying to do damage. But after six rounds two judges scored it 59-55 and a third saw it 60-54 for Ousley.

    “I thought I did great,” said Ousley who trained in Los Angeles for this fight. “I wanted to put on a show for all the fans in Los Angeles.”

    Herbert Acevedo (16-2-1, 6 KOs) out-slugged Mexico’s Martin Martinez (19-18-1, 12 KOs) in an eight round super lightweight clash. No knockdowns were scored but Los Angeles fighter Acevedo was slightly busier especially with the combinations. Martinez had his moments but not enough to defeat Acevedo. The scores were 78-74 and 79-73 twice for Acevedo.

    “He’s a tough guy and he’s been in the ring with some great guys,” said Acevedo of Martinez.

    Photo credit: Al Applerose

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