By: William Holmes
Gary Shaw Productions was the lead promoter for tonight’s ESPN Friday Night Fights card from the Pala Casino Spa and Resort in Pala California. The main event was a lightweight bout between Rustam Nugaev and Marvin Quintero and the undercard featured amateur standout and nineteen year old sensation Dusty Hernandez Harrison.
The first televised bout of the night was between Michael Balasi (10-3) and Dusty Hernandez Harrison (20-0) in the welterweight division. Harrison is a three time National Junior Golden Gloves champion and is currently backed by poker legend Phil Ivey.
Balasi is undefeated when he fights in Hawaii but has yet to win a fight in the United States. Balasi, a southpaw, was eating combination from Harrison in the first round and looked like he was going to be greatly outclassed inside the ring.
Harrison knocked Balasi down early in the second round and jumped on Balasi when he got back to his feet. Harrison however did not maintain an appropriate distance and was surprisingly knocked down by Balasi from an overhand left. When Harrison got back to his feet he wisely avoided violent exchanged and stuck to out boxing Balasi from the outside.
The third and fourth rounds clearly belonged to Harrison, and Harrison scored another knockdown in the fifth round after three consecutive clean right hands. Balasi was able to get back to his feet but was met with several hard punches from Balasi. Balasi was able to survive the remainder of the fifth round and the sixth round, but lost a wide decision.
Harrison easily won the bout with scores of 59-54, 59-54, and 60-53.
The next bout of the night was a bantamweight bout between Roman Morales (17-0) and Khabir Suleymanov (16-3). Morales came in second place in the 2008 National Golden Gloves Championships while Suleymanov was a thirty three year old journeyman with very limited amateur experience.
The first round did not have a lot of action, but Morales did appear to have a small mouse under his right eye by the end of the round. Morales scored the first of five knockdowns in the second round with a straight right hand. Suleymanov attempted to tie up with Morales for most of the remainder of the second round, but went down again near the end of the round from a short left hook.
Morales clearly won every round in the fight and scored his third knockdown in the fifth round from a left hook that probably should have been ruled a slip. Suleymanov was a game fighter and fought his heart out, but his right eye was bleeding badly by the seventh round and he went down two more times in the final round.
Suleymanov was simply outmatched by Roman Morales. The final scores were 79-68, 79-68, and 80-67 .
The main event of the night was a lightweight clash between Rustam Nugaev (26-6-1) and Marvin Quintero (25-4). Quintero was the underdog coming into this bout but his performance surprised many.
Quintero was the smaller man in the ring and a southpaw but he was also had the quicker hands and was smoother on his feet. Nugaev attacked the body of Quintero early on but Quintero was pop shotting Nugaev and landing several good shots.
Quintero continued to stick and move and turn Nugaev at will in the second and third rounds. Nugaev was focusing on the body of Quintero but was not doing heavy damage. There were some fierce exchanges at the end of the second and middle of the third rounds but Quintero was landing the cleaner punches.
However, Quintero appeared to slow down in the fourth round and was taking some heavy body shots from Nugaev. Quintero was also noticeably only throwing punches with his right hand and winced in pain after landing a straight left to the forehead of Nugaev at the end of the fourth round.
The fight was stopped at the advice of the ringside physician at the end of the fourth round due to a broken left hand for Quintero. It’s a terrible way to have a fight end, especially since Quintero looked to be winning the fight.
Nugaev wins by a fourth round TKO.