CARSON, Calif. — The bout between Gary Antonio Russell and Emmanuel Rodriguez abruptly and unceremoniously ended before it ever even began Saturday night when an accidental clash of heads led to a stop of the fight 16 seconds in.

The WBA title eliminator was ruled a No Contest soon after referee Sharon Sands ruled that Rodriguez was unable to continue. 

The bridge of the nose of Rodriguez was busted and bloodied once Russell stepped in and missed with a right hand, and Rodriguez tried to counter with a left before Russell stepped back in again, forcing a clash of heads.

CompuBox credited Russell with one connected punch and none for Rodriguez. 

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican former IBF bantamweight champion Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs) and Russell (18-0, 12 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Maryland, both expressed interest in a rematch as soon as it could be feasible.

The fight served as the co-main event of Showtime’s three-bout broadcast headlined by WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero and challenger Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at] or on