Turning Stone Casino, Verona, New York - Rey Vargas (32-0, 22 KOs) had to fight through fire to win a twelve round unanimous decision over Azat Hovhannisyan (14-3, 11 KOs) to retain the WBC super bantamweight title. The scores were 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.
Azat was coming off an unexpected knockout victory over Ronny Rios in March of this year.
And Vargas last seen in action back in December, when he won a twelve round unanimous decision over undefeated Oscar Negrete.
The first round started with both boxers exchanging some very hard shots. Azat seemed to stun Vargas in the final minute, but Vargas fired right back with big shots. During those exchanges, a cut opened up above Vargas' left eye.
In the second round, the brawl continued as Azat was going after Vargas and the two were trading some heavy shots.
During the third, Vargas was digging to Azat's body with hard punches and controlling the fight - until Azat started letting his hands go in the closing moments. Vargas went back to his boxing in the fourth and was targeting the body as well.
The fifth round saw Vargas doing most of the better work, until the final minute where Azat cracked him very hard with a left hook. At the start of the sixth, Azat came out swinging and landed some solid punches on Vargas.
In the seventh, Azat was really slowing down and wasn't throwing much. Vargas was landing a lot of punches to the body and created a cut above Azat's right eye. The eight and ninth were close, with both boxers connecting with some solid shots. Near the end of the ninth, Vargas was really unloading on Azat. The cut on Vargas was really bleeding bad, but it wasn't affecting him in the fight.
While Vargas had the advantage in the tenth, it was Azat who rallied with big punches in the final minute of the eleventh with big punches. Azat came out swinging in the twelfth and final round. A clash of heads opened up another bad cut on Vargas - this time above his right eye. Azat outpunched Vargas as they continued to engage to the final bell.