Friday, March 24, 2023  |


David Avanesyan shocks Kerman Lejarraga, hands him first loss by TKO in 9

Kerman Lejarraga

Big plans were in the works for Kerman Lejarraga if he got past David Avanesyan. They’ll likely be tabled – for now at least – after the ultra-aggressive, ultra-popular Spaniard was stopped Saturday in nine rounds by David Avanesyan.

Avanesyan, who entered the fight having lost two of his last three, came to the Bilbao Arena in Spain with victory on his mind. After surviving an early rush, Avanesyan sent Lejarraga to all fours with a short right hand to the jaw.

The 27-year-old Lejarraga began to rally in the eighth, but it was cut short by a right hand counter from Avanesyan, which put Lejarraga on unsteady legs as Avanesyan followed up his advantage.

The ending came the following round, when a right hand high on the head once again wobbled Lejarraga, and then in a follow-up assault, Avanesyan landed about eight flush right hands before sending his foe to the canvas and compelling the referee to stop the fight less than a minute into the round.

It was a sharp turn in fortunes for Lejarraga (27-1, 22 knockouts), who had risen to the no. 2 spot at 147 pounds with the WBC, and was no. 5 by the other three major sanctioning bodies on the back of stoppage wins over Bradley Skeete and Frankie Gavin.

Promoter Lou DiBella had told The Ring prior to the fight that his next fight would be in the United States if he could get past this test against Avanesyan (24-3-1, 12 KOs), a 30-year-old from Russia who had lost to Lamont Peterson on points and been stopped in six by Egidijus Kavaliauskas in his previous two steps up.