Home Boxing News Kayode, Avalos, and Hovhannesyan Steal the Show on SHOBOX

Kayode, Avalos, and Hovhannesyan Steal the Show on SHOBOX

SANTA YNEZ, California – Friday, June 10th, “SHOBOX: The New Generation” traveled to the Chumash Casino for a tripleheader highlighted by a cruiserweight clash between California bred Nigerian Lateef Kayode and former WBO title challenger Matt Godfrey of Providence, Rhode Island. In dominating fashion, the undefeated NABF Cruiserweight belt holder Kayode outclassed and outperformed the aging Godfrey, and picked up an unglamorous yet wide unanimous decision to defend his title and add the NABA belt to his accomplishments. On the undercard, fellow Californian, twenty one year old super bantamweight Chris Avalos outgunned the awkward and unorthodox Russian Khabir Suleymanov by unanimous decision to claim the NABA Super Bantamweight Title. The telecast opener was intended to be another notch in the résumé of young lightweight upstart Archie Ray Marquez. However, the New Mexican was upstaged by Armenian Art Hovhannesyan, who knocked Marquez down four times en route to a sixth round knockout.

The cornerstone of the main event, Lateef Kayode (17-0-0, 14 KOs), has been promoted and represented as a power puncher throughout his career, and he has an 82 percent knockout ratio to back up the claim. However, he looked sloppy and challenged in a close and slightly controversial unanimous decision in February against Nicholas Iannuzzi. Many boxing experts question the untested chin of Kayode, fearing it could be his downfall in the biggest step up in class in his career.

Matt Godfrey (20-3-0, 10 KOs) is no stranger to the spotlight, having fought both in a title eliminator and a title shot at the 200 pound limit in Germany. Godfrey lost a razor thin decision to Rudolf Kraj in March of 2008, and followed up the title eliminator loss with a fifth round knockout loss against WBC Cruiserweight Champion Marco Huck in August of 2010. Experienced in two hundred amateur bouts and victor of twenty professional contests, Godfrey was the most battle tested fighter Kayode had even squared off against in the ring, but as the night progressed, it was clear that Kayode had more than enough in the tank and in the chin to defeat the thirty year old Rhode Islander.

To begin the fight, Godfrey came out southpaw in an attempt to instill confusion in the mind of Kayode. A pair of soft lefts landed for Kayode one minute in, which Godfrey followed with a set of clinches. A hard right straight by Kayode stuns Godfrey, who let loose a group of power punches which momentarily put Kayode on the ropes. The Nigerian American quickly swung himself off the ropes and pummelled Godfrey back onto the ropes with a heavy overhand right to end the opening round.

The pace slowed in the second frame, as neither fighter landed anything significant in the first minute of the round. Just over a third of the way through the round, Kayode stunned Godfrey with a pair of right straights, followed with another right hand to the jaw with Godfrey against the ropes, the only important action in the Kayode dominated round.

In round three, Godfrey opened still on the defensive, using some good movement to prevent Kayode from attacking with meaningful blows. Most punches in the first half of the round from Kayode were only glancing, but Godfrey was knocked off balance and hurt with a piercing right to the body with 1:37 to go. Kayode followed by smacking Godfrey with a jab, a pair of power shots and a slew of about ten right hands to the body and cheek in the clinch. At the conclusion of three, Kayode was in total control.
Following a clinch at the start of round four, Kayode landed two right uppercuts, which were countered with a right hook by Godfrey. Despite some early countering success from Godfrey, his punches had very little power behind them. Very little action followed this exchange, but the undefeated Kayode had still done enough to win the round.

In the fifth round, a left-right combination one minute in from Godfrey brushed Kayode, but Kayode fired back and knocked Godfrey down with 1:10 to go. Up at the conclusion of the standing eight count, Kayode began his onslaught. Godfrey, in desperation to stay alive, swung for fences. After a borderline low blow, Kayode sent down to the canvas with a push, although Godfrey was hurt. Kayode landed to the body by way of a four punch combination at the end of the 10-8 round.

Finally, Matt Godfrey picked up the pace, although it took him half of the fight to do so, and the pace was only stepped up for a matter of three minutes. In his only good round of the fight, Godfrey landed a four punch combo with moderate success followed closely by power shots in the opening minute. A left uppercut from Godfrey glanced the side of Kayode’s face, and Kayode proceeded to fight the remainder of the round cautiously, his only unanimously dropped round on the judges’ scorecards.

After being clocked with a hard right from Kayode, Godfrey began the seventh round on shaky legs. Kayode landed a straight to Godfrey’s chin thirty seconds in, and Kayode attempted once again to go for the kill with massive shots to the head. Godfrey counters to the body with 1:40 to go in the round, and held on for dear life with a plethora of clinches in the remainder of the round. Godfrey’s corner vociferously asked him to put combinations together, but Godfrey struggled once more and seemed out of the fight.

A set of jabs opened the eighth round for Godfrey, but a violent head clash thirty seconds in sent Godfrey to the canvas. After standing up and resuming the action, a right hand from Kayode snapped Godfrey’s head back and forced him into the corner. After a flurry from Kayode, Godfrey leaned off the ropes and spit on the undefeated champion, much to the disgust and dismay of the crowd. Following the eighth round, it became clear Kayode was in command and the result was seemingly a forgone conclusion.

Lateef Kayode entered the ninth round fired up, and immediately dropped Godfrey with a body shot, despite Godfrey’s complaint that he was stepped on, a stance proved by the instant replay. Godfrey and Kayode swapped hooks one minute in, and a right uppercut to the sternum for Kayode set up an impressive combination of eight punches which sent Godfrey reeling to the ropes, where he taunted Kayode in a moment of impatience and imprudence. The fighters traded power punches in the final five seconds, with Kayode getting the better of the exchange.

Matt Godfrey’s corner told him to slug for the victory before the final round, but Kayode’s trainer, the legendary Freddie Roach, told Kayode to be smart and hold firm. Kayode did more than just stand firm—he backed up Godfrey on multiple occasions, including a pair of thunderous hooks from Kayode which landed with Godfrey in corner.
At the conclusion of the tenth and final round, judges Marshall Walker, Kermit Bayless, and Sergio Caiz rendered their scorecards in favor of Lateef Kayode (98-89, 98-90, 97-90).

In the middle bout of the night, hot prospect Chris Avalos (19-1-0, 15 KOs) from Lancaster, California, took on Los Angeles based Russian Khabir Suleymanov (11-1-0, 5 KOs). Suleymanov’s awkward, Sam Soliman-like style posed some difficulty for Avalos as well as the judges scoring the fight, but Avalos escaped and looked very impressive doing so.
Avalos was the aggressor early, and a massive left hook dropped Suleymanov thirty seconds into the fight on a clinch. Suleymanov minimized opportunities by clinching, but Avalos put a 10-8 cushion on the scorecards.

In round two, Suleymanov landed a hard overhead right one minute in, and the former kick boxer’s awkward style posed a little strategic difficulty for Avalos. A hard right for Suleymanov landed, followed by double left hooks with minimal effect towards the end of the round. Suleymanov worked to body repeatedly to try and force Avalos’ hands down, and while it was a great round for the Russian, he appeared tired at the conclusion of the opening six minutes.

In round three, it appeared as though Suleymanov had settled down and gained some momentum. A pair of left hooks from Avalos backed up Suleymanov, but he fought fire with fire and landed a fierce left on the jaw of Avalos. With forty seconds remaining in the round, a hard right straight-left hook dropped Suleymanov for a knockdown. Confusion surrounded the ring, as referee Lou Moret failed to halt the action in a timely, effective manner. Avalos continued to strike Suleymanov as his knee hit the canvas, a move he would be deducted one point for. At the same time, the athletic commissioner entered the ring and Suleymanov’s corner believed the fight had been stopped. In an exciting final twenty seconds, the fighters traded power blows to the excitement of the elated crowd at the Chumash Casino.

A left uppercut for Avalos landed flush to open the fourth round, countered by a Suleymanov right in a relatively inactive round. Following plenty of clinching, Avalos landed a pair of shots at the bell.

In round five, a hard right stunned Suleymanov. On spaghetti legs, Suleymanov attempted to clinch but Avalos’ headhunting hurt Suleymanov numerous times. In the final minute, Suleymanov expended all of his energy attempting to stay on his feet, and Avalos punched himself out trying to finish the fight. The pace slowed to a stand-still until the bell, signaling the end of another round for Avalos on the scorecards.

At the beginning of round six, the crowd became aware of a possible injury to the right arm of Avalos, suffered because of his slip in the fifth round. Thirty seconds in, Avalos was cracked with a left hook, but he responded with a left hook of his own and an increased jab output. With just seconds remaining in the round, Avalos was tossed into the ropes, allotting for two shots to land for Suleymanov at the bell in another close round won by Avalos.

The seventh round started with a sweeping right by Suleymanov countered with a right to body from Avalos. Two minutes later, a right uppercut-left hook combo for Avalos landed on target, followed by an exhilarating exchange in the center of the ring with just over two minutes elapsed in the round. Once again, it appeared as though Avalos had done just enough to win the round.

Round eight began and ended with action packed exchanges. Ten seconds in, Avalos landed a crisp right, successfully countered with a left by Suleymanov. Avalos landed successive combos which drew blood from the nose of Suleymanov. Halfway through the round, Suleymanov clinched to save stamina, but Avalos followed a series of accumulative blows which staggered the Russian, who managed to ride out the remainder of the round.

Suleymanov opened the ninth stanza with a hard right over the top, but a lack of combinations early put him in a deep hole. After fifteen seconds of in fighting, some of the only action in the round, Avalos and Suleymanov traded hooks at the bell.

Suleymanov’s trainer begged for aggression entering the final round, but both Suleymanov and his counterpart were worn out. Most of the punches thrown in the round were wild and off target, and despite a possible hairline fracture in his right hand, Chris Avalos picked up the unanimous decision victory (97-90, 96-91, 95-92).

In the bout which opened up the televised portion of the card, the highly touted Archie Ray Marquez (12-1-0, 8 KOs) aimed to keep his undefeated record intact, but rough and tumble Armenian Art Hovhannesyan (14-0-1, 8 KOs) stole the show with a four knockdown roughhousing of the twenty two year old Golden Gloves standout.
The first round had very little action to start off, but the fight heated up with a passionate exchange midway through the round. After the action simmered off once more, Hovhannesyan shocked Marquez with right-left-left combination which floored the New Mexican beside the ropes.

After falling behind 10-8 on the scorecards early, Marquez attempted to pick up the pace. However, Hovhannesyan utilized a stiff jab with kept Marquez on the outside looking in, and allotted for plenty of space for the Armenian to connect with punches in bunches. Much to the delight of the crowd, they pair fought the final twenty five seconds of the second round toe to toe, an exchange that Hovhannesyan clearly got the better of.

Art Hovhannesyan started the third round with a double jab, and many more which followed in the remained of the round, during which time Marquez was inactive and ineffective. Marquez spent the round waiting for one big punch, and was tagged by Hovhannesyan every time he pounced in to seize a perceived opening in the Armenian’s defense. With merely fifteen seconds left in the round, Marquez was knocked down by a left hook-right straight combination, although the tangle of feet suggested a lapse in judgment by referee Dan Stell in a situation which merited the title of a slip rather than a knockdown.

In round four, Marquez stepped up the aggression with combinations, both of which whiffed in the opening forty five seconds. A few moments later, Hovhannesyan landed a sweeping right which knocked Marquez off balance. With one minute left, Marquez landed his best punch of the fight, a right straight to the jaw. Yet, at the halfway point of the scheduled eight round distance, Marquez found himself on the ropes not only in the ring, but also on the scorecards. 
For the first time in his professional career, Marquez was in need of a desperate strategy switch, but his efforts were to no avail. A hard right dropped Marquez to his back with 1:40 to go, and Hovhannesyan went for the finish. Following Marquez’ sloppy clinches, Hovhannesyan ran out of gas and finished the remained of the round with relative ease and success.

Opening the sixth round, Marquez seemed lost and was still on shaky legs. 1:03 into the round, a vicious left hook knocked Marquez flat on his back and out cold on the canvas, forcing referee Dan Stell to immediately call a halt to the action, giving Art Hovhannesyan the victory by knockout.

Continuing with the decade long them of showcasing rising stars, “SHOBOX: The New Generation” placed a trio of prospects on center stage. Once the curtain dropped for show time, three stars stepped up to the challenge and defeated their opponents in dominating fashion, even if it wasn’t the three fighters most boxing pundits expected. Lateef Kayode and Chris Avalos continued their hot streaks in impression style, but Art Hovhannesyan embraced the spotlight for the first time, emerging victories and stealing the show from Archie Ray Marquez in a night which exemplified the maxim that “once the bell rings, anything can happen.”

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