SANTA MONICA, Calif. — After an impressive victory over an unbeaten fighter in his previous fight, one would have thought an eventual letdown was in order for Charles Martin.
However, the unbeaten heavyweight proved those people wrong on Tuesday, stopping veteran Rafael Pedro in the first round of a 10-round bout at the Pier in Santa Monica, Calif.
The bout headlined a three-bout card that was promoted by King Sports Worldwide and was held in association with the 5th annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Boxing Night that was co-hosted by Sugar Ray Leonard and B. Riley and Company.
Martin, who is trained by 1984 Olympic gold Medalist Henry Tillman, was coming off an impressive fourth-round knockout victory over Alexander Flores just five weeks ago up the street at the Hangar in Santa Monica. The fight matched two unbeaten heavyweights that saw Martin emerge as the top heavyweight prospect in Southern California and win a regional title belt.
Once a prospect, Pedro had lost seven of his previous nine bouts prior to the Martin fight and had not fought in over two years.
Within 30 seconds of the opening bell, the southpaw Martin dropped Pedro with a left hand. The punch landed on the left shoulder of Pedro, who eventually got up and tried to land counter right hands.
The end came when Martin landed a left uppercut that hurt Pedro, who backed up against the ropes. Moments later, a barrage of punches dropped Pedro to the canvas, prompting referee Raul Caiz, Sr. to stop the bout at 2:19. Pedro vehemently protested the stoppage, complaining he was able to continue.
Martin, who lives and trains in Carson, Calif., improves to 17-0-1, 15 knockouts. The Cuban-born Pedro drops to 21-11-1, 15 KOs.
Grajeda gets split nod
Luis Grajeda won an eight-round split decision over Said El Harrak in junior middleweight action.
Grajeda dictated the tempo the action in the first half of the fight, beating El Harrak to the punch, especially with counter right hands to the head. El Harrak pressed the action more by the fourth round, getting on the inside of Grajeda's guard and landing to the body. Grajeda responded by throwing and connecting more with right uppercuts to the head in the fifth round.
El Harrak was the busier fighter in the sixth and seventh rounds, but seemed to labor more and more with each passing minute as he began to breath heavier. Just when it looked like El Harrak had all the momentum, Grajeda controlled the final round, beating El Harrak to the punch, again with sweeping or counter right hands to the head.
One judge scored the bout 78-74 for El Harrak, while the other two judges scored the bout 77-75 in favor of Grajeda, who improves to 18-2-1, 13 KOs. El Harrak drops to 12-3-1, 7 KOs.
Shabranskyy destroys Vasquez in one
Light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy stopped Paul Vasquez in the first round of an eight-round bout.
Within the 10 seconds of the opening bell, Shabranskyy hurt Vasquez with a left hook to the head to the head. As Vasquez staggered to a corner, Shabranskyy went on the attack. He would eventually drop him with a counter left hook to the head, dropping Vasquez to the canvas, prompting referee Raul Caiz, Sr. to stop the bout at 23 seconds.
The Ukrainian-born Shabranskyy, who lives and resides in Carson, Calif., goes to 8-0, 7 KOs. Vasquez drops to 10-4-1, 3 KOs.
Proceeds from the live and silent auction will support the Sugar Ray Foundation to raise funds for research and awareness towards a cure for juvenile and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
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