Marvin Quintero thought the worst was behind him when he stepped inside the ring on Friday night against Rustam Nugaev.
Having not fought in almost 18 months and weighing in on the day of the fight, he was eager to show he was someone to watch out for at 135 pounds.
Unfortunately, a freak injury was what did him in despite holding his own against a formidable contender.
Quintero quit on his stool after the fourth round, declaring Nugaev the winner by technical knockout at the Pala Casino in Pala, Calif. on Friday night. The bout was a Friday Night Fights main event that topped a nine-bout card.
Quintero had not fought since losing a 12-round split decision to Miguel Vazquez in October of 2012. Quintero was not able to weigh in on the customary day before the fight because he had trouble securing a temporary visa. He was able to do so at the last minute and weighed in on Friday morning. Quintero lives in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
Entering his bout against Quintero, Nugaev had won five fights in a row and has secured a world ranking as a lightweight.
Quintero was the busier and effective fighter in the first round. Nugaev began to press his attack in the second round, getting on the inside of Quintero’s guard and landing his customary hooks to the body. Not to be outdone, Quintero also landed well to the body of Nugaev.
Fighting from the outside, Quintero was able to use angles to land. To his credit, Nugaev was able to trap Quintero against the ropes or in a corner, ripping vicious shots to the body.
At the end of the fourth round, Quintero threw and landed a left hand to Nugaev’s forehead. After he landed the punch, Quintero turned away and winced in pain. After the bell sounded to end the round, Quintero sat on his stool and told his corner he was not able to continue because of a possible broken hand. Nugaev was declared the winner by technical knockout.
The Russian-born Nugaev, who resides in the Los Angeles area, improves to 27-6-1, 17 KOs. Quintero falls to 25-5, 21 KOs.
Morales dominates faded Suleymanov
Roman Morales dropped Khabir Suleymanov five times en route to a one-sided eight round unanimous decision.
Morales was in command throughout most of the fight as he would counter any wide punch the aggressive Suleymanov would throw at him.
In the second round, Morales dropped Suleymanov with a counter right hand to the head. After getting up and moments later, Suleymanov was dropped by a combination that culminated with a right hand to the head.
Suleymanov pressed the action more in the third and fourth rounds. He was able to land an occasional right cross or left hook to the head of Morales. The rally was short-lived as Morales shifted momentum in his favor in the fifth round, dropping Suleymanov with a barrage of punches. Suleymanov complained he slipped on the canvas.
Suleymanov showed a lot of heart and kept fighting on. His overly aggressive style did him in again in the final round when he was dropped twice to the canvas, both by counter right hands. Suleymanov was able to make it to the final bell.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Morales, 79-68, 79-68, and 80-67.
Morales, who hails from San Ardo, Calif., goes to 18-0, 9 KOs. Suleymanov, who resides in the Los Angeles area, falls to 16-4, 6 KOs.
Harrison survives knockdown to win
In the opening bout of the Friday Night Fights telecast, welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison survived a knockdown to win a six round unanimous decision.
Harrison was coming off an eight round unanimous decision over Tim Witherspoon, Jr. on Jan. 31. Balasi had lost two fights in a row before his bout against Harrison.
After an even first round, both fighters opened up in the second round. Balasi seemed to stun Harrison with a left to the head, but moments later ended up on the canvas courtesy of a three-punch combination. Later in the round, Balasi’s aggression paid off as he dropped Harrison with a lead left cross to the head. Harrison got up and was able to make it out of the round.
The knockdown seemed to change Harrison’s strategy as he kept Balasi on the outside. Harrison was able to land straight rights behind a consistent jab to the head.
Harrison further cemented momentum in his favor in the fifth round, knocking Balasi down to the canvas with a barrage of punches. To his credit, Balasi tried to fight back, but would throw one punch at a time or tried to feint to get Harrison to throw punches. Harrison kept his distance and boxed effectively until the final bell.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Harrison, 59-54, 59-54, and 60-53.
Harrison, from Washington, DC, improves to 21-0, 11 KOs. Balasi, from Honolulu, HI, drops to 10-4, 7 KOs.
In other bouts:
– Lightweight Alejandro Luna (17-0, 13 KOs) knocked out Sergio Rivera (18-15-2, 11 KOs) in the first round. A left hook to the head dropped Rivera to the canvas, where referee Ray Corona counted him out at 1:29.
– Welterweight Francisco Santana (19-3-1, 9 KOs) knocked out Jorge Pimentel (27-22, 20 KOs) at 3:00 of the third round. Santana dropped Pimentel twice in the third round, the final one with a hook to the body.
– In the walkout bout of the evening and the best fight on the card, Aaron Garcia (14-3-2, 4 KOs) won a hard-fought four round unanimous decision over Thomas Herrera (3-10-1, 1KO). All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Garcia.
– 2013 National Amateur champion Eduardo Martinez won his professional debut, defeating Juan Urbina (0-1-1) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Martinez.
– Mario Barrios (3-0, 1 KO) dropped Lionell Kelly (0-3) in the second round en route to a four round unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 40-35 in favor of Barrios.
– Two-time National PAL champion Kenneth Sims won his professional debut over Corey Muldrew (1-6). All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Sims.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing