WOODLAND HILLS — Avoiding a loss was of little solace to Gabriel Tolmajyan.
Putting on the most action-packed fight to grace the Woodland Hills War 4 card at the Warner Center Marriott, the Armenian-born fighter — who trains at the Glendale Fighting Club — and his opponent Juan Suazo battled to a six-round draw in their co-main event lightweight bout late Friday night.
Tolmajyan said through an interpreter that he was disappointed in the result and thought he had won the fight.
A deep cut opened next to Suazo's left eye in the third round slathered both fighters in blood for the remainder of the bout, which saw numerous exchanges of combinations but far too much of Tolmajyan fading back into the ropes under Suazo's offensive.
"I thought we had the fight, four [rounds] to two," Tolmajyan's corner man George Bastrmajyan said. "[Suazo] was putting pressure on him, but he wasn't really connecting on punches. He was just aggressive and throwing a lot of punches at him, but if you look at the fight, Gabe clearly landed the more effective punches."
Tolmajyan (10-1-1), a southpaw, had early success landing two-punch combos, right to left, but in the second round, Suazo (7-4-3) became more aggressive and began to dictate the fight.
Early in the fourth round, Tolmajyan was thrown to the mat — it was not ruled a knockdown — and responded with a right flush to Suazo's wound. But, as he did for much of the fight, Suazo maintained enough volume punching to keep the fight even on the cards.
With blood pouring from a cut he sustained via head butt in the final round, Tolmajyan continued to battle, but couldn't put together the decisive round to put him over the top.
"I'm happy with his performance, minus the cut," Bastrmajyan said. "He fought. This is the first time he's actually had to fight in a fight. Usually, he just outpoints everybody and wins in a unanimous decision, but I'm happy with his performance just because he had a big test."
The card, which was co-promoted by Bash Boxing and Glendale resident Kahren Harutyuntan's Art of Boxing Promotions, was headlined by a cruiserweight clash between Anatoliy Dudchenko and Michael Simms (21-14-2).
Scheduled for eight rounds, the fight was shortened to six rounds as midnight and the expiration of the event's insurance policy neared. Dudchenko (13-2), who has fought three times in Glendale since 2008, was well ahead going into the sixth round, but sealed the win with a series of haymakers near the final bell.
Harutyunyan said the sudden truncation of the main event came at the directive of the state boxing commission and caught him by surprise.
The show opened with the four-round professional debut of featherweight Erik Ruiz, who got his career off to winning start against Shaun Solomon.
Having won each of the first three rounds, Ruiz took it out of the judges' hands at the 1:52 mark of the fourth round, rocking the exhausted southpaw back against the ropes with several clean shots that prompted referee Thomas Taylor to step in and do what Solomon (1-4-1) no longer could — defend himself.
Ilshat Khusnulgatin went from the worst of beginnings — he was off his feet on a flash knockdown in the first five seconds of his four-round light heavyweight fight against Harry Gopaul (0-2) — to a dominant four-round unanimous decision in which he handily won the last three rounds on two judges' cards and all of them the third.
Negating Gopaul's hard-charging approach with his reach advantage and superior skills, Khusnulgatin (2-0) peppered Gopaul's face throughout the fight, bloodying his cheek and mouth in the second round and scoring his own clean knockdown in the third after escaping from the corner and throwing a quick left-right combo to floor Gopaul along the ropes.
Andres Reyes and Edther Arvizu squared off in a light welterweight tilt that was a brawl throughout. Both fighters' haphazard style made for a frenetic fight, where defense and footwork were at times afterthoughts.
Reyes (2-1-2) prevailed against Arvizu (1-1) by majority decision, 40-36, on two judges' cards, with the third calling it a draw.
In the briefest fight of the night, Russian cruiserweight Medzhi Bertekmirov improved to 5-0 with his fifth knockout, putting Joe Broken Rope's lights out with a brutal left hook on the side of his head at the 1:56 mark of the first round.
Even before the crushing knockout blow, it was quickly clear Broken Rope (2-5) would not be long for the fight, as Bertekmirov had earlier in the round sent Broken Rope hurtling into the corner with a stunning right hand and moments later connected with an overhand right that dropped Broken Rope in a heap.
Super welterweight Hugo Centeno had no problem defending his perfect record against Kelly Wright via unanimous four-round decision. Whether a product of Wright's obstructionist style — he was twice docked a point for holding — Centeno (8-0, 6 KOs), the young fan favorite out of Oxnard, never seemed to be able to really hurt Wright (4-7).
Building a lead in the first two rounds simply by outpunching Wright at a relentless rate, Centeno settled down over the last two and became more methodical in working his left jab into a right cross.