By Keith Idec
Zhora Hamazaryan deserved far better than the first defeat he suffered Friday night.
The lightweight prospect from Armenia displayed power and skill, and seemed to do more than enough to beat Thomas Mattice in their eight-round fight. Two judges strangely scored the fight for Cleveland’s Mattice, though, and he won an eight-round split decision in Sloan, Iowa.
Hamazaryan won 77-74 on one scorecard. He lost by the same score, 76-75, on two scorecards in the second of three bouts broadcast by Showtime from WinnaVegas Casino Resort.
The 22-year-old Hamazaryan (9-1, 6 KOs) dropped Mattice in the second round, hurt him badly in the seventh round and took Mattice’s power well. Nevertheless, Mattice managed to remain unbeaten (13-0, 10 KOs) by recording a controversial victory.
Seemingly behind, Mattice rallied toward the end of the eighth round by landing a couple right hands. It didn’t appear to be nearly enough, though, to change the outcome of what was an obvious victory for Hamazaryan.
Hamazaryan hammered Mattice with a right hand that buckled his legs with 1:47 to go in the seventh round. Mattice moved and held as best he could to buy some time to recover, and made it to the end of the round.
Hamazaryan hit Mattice with a right uppercut that back him up when there was just under a minute remaining in the sixth round. A short left hook by Hamazaryan knocked Mattice off balance just before the sixth round ended.
Hamazaryan’s jab continued to be an effective weapon during the fifth round. Mattice repeatedly landed lefts to the body in the fifth.
Hamazaryan’s right uppercut connected and made Mattice hold him at the 1:10 mark of the fourth round. Hamazaryan’s left hook caught Mattice flush 30 seconds into the fourth.
Hamazaryan’s straight right hand landed flush with just under a minute to go in the third round. Mattice hit Hamazaryan with a left hook about 30 seconds into the third round.
Hamazaryan knocked down Mattice when he landed a perfect straight right hand 20 seconds into the second round. Mattice got up, but Hamazaryan swarmed him and landed various head and body shots that made Mattice hold him.
Mattice managed to reach the end of the round.
Hamazaryan was the aggressor in the first round, when he showed some flair and boxing ability. A stiff jab by Hamazaryan moved Mattice backward with about 35 seconds to go in the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.