By Francisco Salazar
INDIO, Calif. - Welterweight Dmitry Mikhaylenko is as awkward a fighter as they come. He used that to his advantage in scoring the best win of his career.
Mikhaylenko stopped Johan Perez in the eighth round before an near-capacity crowd at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
It was a close bout early on as Perez was able to connect early on. By the third round, Mikhaylenko, who has modest wins over Sechew Powell and Ronald Cruz, was able to use his awkward style to land lead and counter right hands to the head of Perez.
There were some very good exchanges between the two fighters, but Mikhaylenko seemed to have more snap on his punches, at times snapping Perez's head back.
Perez switched to a southpaw stance, which helped him land more efficiently. But Mikhaylenko continued to get on the inside of Perez's reach, landing repeatedly to the head and body.
Perez looked tired in round seven. He looked more spent in the following round, which prompted Mikhayleno to press the fight. He was rewarded as his punches seems to hurt Perez, backing him up in a corner. Mikhaylenko landed another exchange, prompting referee Ray Corona to step in and stop the bout at 1:21.
Mikhaylenko, who won the NABA welterweight title, improves to 20-0, 9 KOs. Perez falls to 20-3-1, 13 KOs.
"I want to thank my promoter and HBO Latino for giving me the opportunity to fight for this title," said Dmitry Mikhaylenko. "I felt like I dominated the fight from the beginning and definitely set the pace. I was prepared to face a tough opponent in Perez but once I realized my punches were hurting him I decided to continue to put pressure on him. He is not a heavy punch and I took the opportunity to overwhelm him. I want to dedicate this victory to my mother, all my fans in Russia and my darling Sasha."
"I feel like I should have trained harder for this opponent and now think that I may have been underprepared," said Johan Perez. "I may have been too relaxed at first as I was trying to read him. He is a very heavy puncher a tough opponent."
Junior featherweight Tino Avila remained unbeaten, scoring the best win of his career by stopping Yoandris Salinas after the sixth round.
After an even first round, Avila struck pay dirt in the second round, dropping Salinas with a straight right to the head. Salinas was not visibly hurt and fought back well.
Salinas, who fought to a 12 round majority decision draw against Scott Quigg almost two years ago, was able to score with his series of straight right hands to the head, but Avila was able to offset anything Salinas threw by throwing and landing double and triple jabs.
As the bout progressed, Avila's punches seemed to take the wind more out of Salinas. After the sixth round, Salinas remained on his stool, citing a possible injury to his hand.
Avila improves to 18-0, 8 KOs, while Salinas drops to 22-2-2, 14 KOs.
"I was expecting Salinas to be a tougher fighter," said Manuel Avila. "I had heard a lot about him, his record and reputation. Taking that into account my team really prepared me. I trained longer and harder. I felt like this fight was going to go the distance and I wanted to increase my speed and stamina. In all my 13 years fighting I had never won a belt, not even as an amateur. I now am glad to say that I am the NABF Super Bantamweight Champion. I am taking home the belt back home to my gym, the Vacaville Pal. I am ready for a world championship fight, and this victory proves it."
"My plan was to start slow and find out what Avila was all about and I found that he wasn't a heavy puncher, so when he knocked me down in third round I was very surprised," said Yoandris Salinas. "So I started to put more pressure on him with my right hook. In the fourth round, I continued to lead with my right since I felt like I was hurting him but one of my right hooks hurt my hand. I tried to continue the fight into the fifth and sixth rounds but the pain in my right hand was unbearable and I knew Avila noticed and began to take advantage of my situation.
Junior lightweight Tevin Farmer stopped hard-hitting Daulis Prescott in the eighth round.
The southpaw Farmer took the fight to Prescott from the opening bell. He was successful when he initiated exchanges, beating Prescott to the punch. Prescott had a difficult time attempting to counter Farmer, eating punches from Farmer.
In the fourth round, Farmer dropped Prescott with a left hand to the head. Prescott got up, but more vicious shots to the head from Farmer and was lucky to escape the round.
The fight took an odd turn in the sixth round. Farmer dropped Prescott with a right hook. While Prescott was on one knee, Farmer threw and landed a left hand to Prescott's head. Prescott remained on the canvas, eventually standing up and utilizing the five minutes fighters have to recover from a foul. Referee Ray Corona deducted a point from Farmer.
The end came in round 8 when Farmer unloaded a left cross to the head, dropping Prescott to the canvas. Referee Ray Corona did not bother to count, waving the fight over at 52 seconds.
Farmer improves to 20-4-1, 5 KOs, while Prescott drops to 29-3, 22 KOs.
In a back and forth bout, heavyweight Tommy Washington (4-7, 2 KOs) defeated Paulis Ritter by unanimous decision over four rounds. Ritter, who was making his professional debut, had the height and reach advantage, but did not connect enough with mostly arm punches. Washington came on the second half of the fight, landing lead and counter hooks to the head of Ritter, swaying the momentum in his favor. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Washington, 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37.
Featherweight Joet Gonzalez (11-0, 5 KOs) knocked out Miguel Tamayo near the end of the third round. Gonzalez dropped Tamayo (16-15-2) with a right-left combination midway through the third round. Moments later, Gonzalez dropped Tamayo again, this time by a barrage of punches. Tamayo remained on the canvas as referee Pat Russell counted him out at 2:17.
Unbeaten Jason Quigley (8-0, 8 KOs) scored an impressive second round knockout over Michael Faulk. Quigley dropped Faulk (3-3, 1 KO) three times in the second, the final one courtesy of a left hook to the body, followed by a right to the head. Faulk's corner threw in the towel, prompting referee Ray Corona to stop the bout at 2:59.
Junior middleweight Neeco Macias (9-0, 4 KOs) won a six round unanimous decision over Julian Cruz. It was an action-filled bout, as both fighters stood in the pocket and traded punches. Macias landed the more telling blows throughout the bout, earning the nod on the judges' scorecards (60-54, 60-54, and 59-55).
In a battle of unbeaten welterweights, Darius Ervin won by majority decision over four rounds over Diego Padilla (1-1). Ervin was in control during most of the bout, punctuating his dominance by hurting Padilla with seconds left in the fourth round. One judge scored the bout 38-38, while the other two judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Ervin (3-0).
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, super middleweight Quilisito Madera (2-0, 1 KO) stopped Fernando Najera (1-8) at 31 seconds of the third round.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing