Junior middleweight prospect Charles Conwell remains undefeated following a good win tonight in the Ring City USA main event, stopping Madiyar Ashkeyev after nine rounds of action.
The 23-year-old Conwell (14-0, 11 KO) broke down the Kazakh opponent, as Ashkeyev (14-1, 7 KO) seemed to lack the ability to change gears, which was something that set Conwell apart here in what was an interesting matchup on paper coming in. The 32-year-old Ashkeyev never found a comfort zone, and basically everything he tried was countered or nullified by Conwell, who was quicker, stronger, and was willing and able to not just match the roughness Ashkeyev tried to impose early, but exceed it.
The fight was stopped after the ninth round when Ashkeyev’s corner wanted to pull the plug, Ashkeyev kept saying no, and eventually referee Jack Reiss stopped it himself. It wasn’t a horrible beating on the surface, but he was taking consistent punishment and well out of the fight by that point.
Conwell, a former U.S. Olympian, wants to get moving toward a title shot sooner than later. The 154-pound division is packed with talent, and has been one of the most exciting, turbulent divisions in the sport for the past few years. Conwell looks like he has the talent and determination to be a great addition to that mix within the next year or so.
“I knew if I broke him down, I could get him out of there. He was hanging strong, but eventually I got him out of there,” Conwell said. “I think I’m making big progress and I’m ready for the bigger paydays. The more I fight, the more I get better. I’m only 23 years old, I’m only getting better.”
Eduardo Baez UD-8 Narek Abgaryan
A minor upset, perhaps, for the Mexican Baez, who was making his U.S. debut at age 25 and won wide scores of 79-73, 80-72, and 80-72. BLH had it 79-73, and the closest this could have been was 77-75 but still clear for Baez (18-1-2, 6 KO), whose rounds were mostly obvious, while the Freddie Roach-trained Abgaryan (14-1, 6 KO) simply had arguments in about three of the rounds. I gave him one. Shawn Porter gave him two.
Abgaryan, a 28-year-old Armenian, sells a “Dancing Killer” nickname. He definitely had the dancing part down, but he seemed a little over-confident in his tools, too, as Baez just kept popping him with clean shots, and Abgaryan’s attempts to be slick and cute and work the counters just didn’t work out against a relentlessly aggressive opponent who didn’t get discouraged when hit clean, or by a pretty solid amount of blood flowing from his forehead.
Abgaryan may be able to adjust and come back, but fighters at his age usually are what they are, for better or worse. Baez, on the other hand, gains a good amount here, gets some U.S. exposure, and I think would be a very welcome regular on a series like this at the very least, given his style.
Jelena Mrdjenovich UD-10 Paola Torres
A terrific fight, which saw the 38-year-old Mrdjenovich make her U.S. debut with a successful defense of the WBA featherweight title, holding off a spirited challenge from the 31-year-old Torres.
Mrdjenovich (41-10-2, 19 KO) won on scores of 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92, all defensible. Torres (12-5-1, 4 KO) brought plenty of action, but the Canadian titlist was willing to meet the aggression, and we got some good exchanges, constant action, no lulls, and a rough, hard fight for 10 full rounds.
Torres once again comes up short against a higher-level foe, as she did against Heather Hardy in 2018 and Cindy Serrano in 2017, but this should keep her in the mix at 126, too. The record isn’t pretty, but she can fight for sure. Mrdjenovich has spent most of her career fighting at home, but hopefully this indicates more chances for her to get bigger fights in the States. Mrdjenovich against Heather Hardy could be a nice Ring City matchup to make and a potential barnburner, too. We’ve seen a lot of good women’s fights this year, and this was another one.
- Stephan Shaw UD-8 Lyubomyr Pinchuk: Solid heavyweight fight in terms of entertainment. Shawn (14-0, 10 KO) won on scores of 80-72 across the board, but Pinchuk (12-2-1, 7 KO) was tough and gave a good, honest effort here. Pinchuk is a cruiserweight, really, and Shaw was also faster and slicker. “Big Shot” Shaw is one of those American heavyweight prospects who doesn’t really leap off the screen at you, maybe a bit older than you’d like at 28 for his experience level, maybe doesn’t really project as an elite guy or anything, but he can fight. I’d put him above Jermaine Franklin, for a comparison to a similar age/similar level sort of guy. Shaw should really start trying to move toward doing something bigger from here if he’s serious about contending, though.
- Kelvin Davis TKO-2 Michael Honesto: A double debut here at 140 pounds. Davis with the successful first time out, dropping Honesto in the first round and then early in the second to finish it. The 24-year-old Davis is long and tall at 6’1” with a 74-inch reach at 140, good speed, a southpaw — there are things to like here for sure, could be a guy worth watching. Kelvin was a good amateur fighter who stepped away from boxing for a while, and also is the older brother of Keyshawn Davis, who is probably the U.S. men’s top hope for gold at Tokyo 2021 if Tokyo 2021 happens.