NORTHEAST GLENDALE â€” From the action in the ring to the diverse crowd of fight fans on hand, Friday night's Glendale Glory wasn't unlike many other showcases of up-and-coming talent that occur regularly in cities across America.
But for the city of Glendale, it was an extraordinary evening.
For 62 years, there has been a citywide ban in place on boxing exhibitions, one that was recently lifted temporarily by the City Council, after no small amount of debate and lobbying, for the purpose of just such an event as Friday's.
As well as attempting to please the paying public at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, the six-bout card's objective was to convince the city's establishment that boxing in Glendale is feasible, practical and safe enough for the ban to be lifted permanently.
â€œAll along, I was convinced that it was going to go smooth [with] great atmosphere, good fights, no problems, just how I've been telling people,â€ said Art of Boxing Promotions' Kahren Harutyunyan, a leader of the efforts to get the ban repealed, who co-promoted Glendale Glory along with Bash Boxing. â€œIf this doesn't change people's minds [about boxing in Glendale] I don't think there's anything that will.â€
The eight-round main event on Friday saw Andrey â€œThe Russian Bearâ€ Fedosov destroy Galen Brown via second-round knockout to claim the vacant World Boxing Council Intercontinental Youth heavyweight title, while local favorite Art â€œLionheartâ€ Hovhannesyan pummeled Daniel Gonzalez for five-plus rounds en route to a win by technical knockout in the sixth in the super lightweight co-main event.
Fedosov (20-1, 16 knockouts) mainly felt out his opponent in the first round, but wasted no time in pouncing once the bell rang to open the second. He hurt Brown (32-12-1, 20 KOs) badly with a torrent of combos leading to a knockdown in the corner of the ring to open the round, then took Brown back to the same corner and finished him off with a vicious three-punch combo to the head, prompting referee Jack Reese to halt the fight 1 minute 36 seconds into the round.
â€œI definitely felt I could have my way in the second round,â€ Fedosov said through an interpreter. â€œ[After the first knockdown] I wanted to go after him before he was able to come back and to be able to finish him off before he was able to regain his bearings.â€
Hovhannesyan, who trains at Glendale Fighting Club, had handily won every round entering the sixth and final round. Referee Raul Caiz, Jr. put a halt to the bout 21 seconds into the round when Gonzalez left himself unprotected from a crushing left from Hovhannesyan.
Gonzalez (9-23-2, 3 KOs) took heavy damage in the third round when Hovhannesyan (8-0-1, 3 KOs) scored a knockdown on a punch that split Gonzalez's lower lip open. By the end of the round, Gonzalez also had a cut above his right eye and considerable swelling on his left.
â€œI was very surprised [with how much punishment Gonzalez took],â€ Hovhannesyan's trainer Edmond Tarverdyan said. â€œHe's got a very good chin.
â€œI'm happy with [Hovhannesyan's] performance.â€
At about 8:30 p.m., history was made when light-heavyweights Anatoliy Dudchenko and Terrance Smith (6-11, 3 KOs) opened the card with the first licensed boxing match in Glendale since 1947.
Dudchenko defeated Smith by unanimous decision in six rounds to improve to 5-2 with four KOs.
Gapo â€œThe Ghostâ€ Tolmajyan, who also trains at the Glendale Fighting Club, improved to 6-1 (1 KO) with a win by majority decision in four rounds over Hugo Ramos (2-1-1, 1 KO) in a super featherweight contest.
Tolmajyan, a southpaw, displayed quick hand work and repeatedly scored with a punishing left to the torso, all while fending off occasional wild salvos from Ramos.
Welterweight Max Skayzer (7-0-1, 1 KO) wore down journeyman Anthony Martinez (21-31-3, 9 KOs) over six rounds to win easily by unanimous decision.
In the shortest fight of the night, heavyweight Lateef Kayode (7-0, 5 KOs) made quick work of Francisco Mireles (8-4, 1 KO), dropping him to a knee with a right hook to the body before scoring a knockout with a straight right to the head 1:41 into the first round.