Charles Conwell looks impressive in dominating Madiyar Ashkeyev
A year ago, Charles Conwell was a hollow man, recovering from the death of Patrick Day. Fighting and time has healed the 2016 U.S. Olympian, along with becoming the father of a six-month-old baby girl who’s just learning to crawl.
Some years from now, the 23-year-old Conwell may mark down the time he fought Madiyar Ashkeyev in the parking lot of a fabled Los Angeles gym when he rediscovered his mojo.
That’s what may have happened Thursday night, when Conwell tore apart the previously undefeated Ashkeyev by 9-round stoppage on NBC Sports Network’s presentation of Ring City USA from outside of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Gym.
It’s probably the best Conwell (14-0, 11 knockouts) has looked as a pro. His defense was tight. His offense was aggressive and confident. He put on a complete display against the awkward, chippy Ashkeyev (14-1, 7 KO).
Working behind his high guard, Conwell continually closed in on Ashkeyev, who more than a few times tried leading with his left elbow. There was one sequence in the second round when referee Jack Reiss reminded both fighters that they were in a boxing match, not a wrestling match.
Conwell went well to the body, and when Ashkeyev lowered his defense, Conwell went up top and landed a few overhand rights to the head. In the third round, the fighters got tangled and fell together.
Conwell kept constant pressure on Ashkeyev. When Ashkeyev came forward with his head down, Conwell tried uppercuts. After three, it appeared evident Conwell was ahead.
Reiss wisely went to Ashkeyev’s corner and explained the situation. Their fighter may not have won a round and was taking a beating. Ashkeyev’s corner was hesitant to give an answer, so Reiss decided for them and ended it after the ninth round.
“I felt good, I’m getting more comfortable in the ring with the more experience that I get,” Conwell said. “I’m feeling better, and I’m going to keep getting better with each fight. I knew if I broke him down, I could eventually get (Ashkeyev) out of there. I saw the wear and tear on his body.
“He was hanging strong, and I eventually got him out of there. I think I’m the only undefeated contender and I want to make the bigger paydays. I followed my game plan and I believed in my game plan, and I’m glad I’m feeling more and more comfortable.
“I feel that I’m only getting better.”
In the co-main event, 38-year-old Jelena Mrdjenovich (41-10-2, 19 KO) retained the WBA featherweight title with a 10-round victory over feisty Iranda Paula Torres (12-5-1, 4 KO). Torres gave Mrdjenovich some problems, cutting the titlist up over her right eye with a head butt. This was the first time Mrdjenovich fought without longtime trainer Milan Lubovac, who suffered a cardiac arrest in February and has been nonresponsive since.
“Everything about this was difficult,” Mrdjenovich said. “I wanted an easy night tonight and showcase my power. I wanted an easy night tonight and come out pretty. I thought I could get her, but she’s tough. This was about me getting out of here mentally and emotionally safe.
“We’re going through a tough time right now with COVID and I’m going through a tough time going through depression with Milan, so this isn’t about anybody else.”
Mexican Eduardo Baez (18-1-2, 6 KO) dominated Freddie Roach-trained Narek Abgaryan (15-1, 6 KO) in an eight-round junior featherweight bout.
On the off-TV undercard, heavyweight Stephan Shaw (14-0, 10 KOs) remained undefeated with an eight-round decision over 24-year-old Ukrainian Lyubomyr Pinchuk (12-2-1, 7 KOs). It’s the first time Shaw, 28, has gone eight rounds in his career.
“It felt great, and I felt like I did a great job,” Shaw said. “I wanted to go the eight rounds. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the ring, and he was a tough guy. I learned I need to sit down on my shots a little more, and I’m just glad I got the ring rust off and I got the win. With more rounds and staying busy, I know the knockout would have come.”
Southpaw junior welterweight Kelvin Davis, 24, won his pro debut with a second-round stoppage over debuting Michael Honesto.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.
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