SANTA YNEZ — Art Hovhannisyan arrived upon the doorstep of becoming a title contender with devastation, looking to knock the door down.
But former World Boxing Assn. lightweight champion Miguel Acosta knocked right back, making for a pulse-pounding lightweight main event at Showtime's Shobox card at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez on Friday night. But it was Hovhannisyan's early brilliance and late fortitude that brought the fighter known as the Lionheart the biggest victory of his career, as he defeated Acosta via split decision to remain undefeated.
"This one is the biggest fight of my career," said Hovhannisyan, who fights out of the Glendale Fighting Club. "But I think it's the beginning."
Judges scored it 95-93 twice for Hovhannisyan (15-0-2, eight knockouts), while Acosta was given a 96-92 nod. The News-Press scored it 95-93 with the fight even heading into the ninth round, with Glendale's Hovhannisyan taking the final two stanzas to grab victory.