GLENDALE — His forehead badly marked, his scalp busted open, Artur Bernetsyan might have appeared battered and beaten on Saturday night, but he was most assuredly not, as the evening marked the further ascension of the Glendale boxer.
Facing his strongest test to date, Bernetsyan claimed a six-round unanimous decision against Rynell Griffin in the main event of a card at Silverton Casino & Lodge in Las Vegas.
"This was his biggest test," said George Bastrmajyan, Bernetsyan's manager and cutman out of Glendale Fighting Club.
Bernetsyan (5-0, two knockouts) defeated Griffin (6-3-1, two KOs) in the 133-pound bout by scores of 59-55 on two scorecards and 58-56 on the third. All five of Bernetsyan's fights have come in this, his rookie year as a professional. The Vanadzor, Armenia-native had last fought in June at a card in Hollywood. The subsequent four-month layoff was for no other reason than a couple of fights falling through, according to Bastrmajyan. Bernetsyan's last fight was another unanimous decision, but one in which "The Punisher's" camp was overall disappointed with. Saturday was a different story.
"This fight was much better," Bastrmajyan said. "He was looking very good."
And very resilient in more ways than one.
It was Bernetsyan's first-ever six-round bout, but the young southpaw, whose style is one that's rather relentless, didn't appear to have any problems keeping up his usual pace.
"He's a durable fighter," Bastrmajyan said. "If it was an eight-round fight, he would've easily done it.
"That's something we're not worried about, his stamina is very good."
Bastrmajyan was worried after the first round when an apparent head butt caused a large bump on Bernetsyan's forehead.
"It was nasty," said Bastrmajyan, who estimated the two southpaws butted heads "seven or eight times."
But when Bernetsyan, who would later cut open Griffin around the eyebrow with a right hook, returned to the corner after the first round and Bastrmajyan asked him how he was feeling concerning the large mouse, Bernetsyan didn't answer, instead commenting on how great it was to have referee Joe Cortez overseeing the bout, particularly because the veteran ref had refereed Mike Tyson's fights before.
Bernetsyan also sustained a cut on his scalp due to a butt that had to be stapled shut after the bout, resulting in a mandatory 30-day medical suspension. In the second round, he was also hit in the back of the head and stunned a bit.
"He recovered after that," Bastrmajyan said. "He didn't let any of that really bother him."
Going forward, Bastrmajyan said himself and GFC trainer Edmond Tarverdyan are hoping to have Bernetsyan back in the ring in December. And, thus far, are pleased with how the rookie pro has done in his first 10 months.
"We're really happy with his performance," Bastrmajyan said. "He's got a great attitude. He's a hard worker."