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Art Hovhannisyan splits the difference, defeats Miguel Acosta

Boxing: Art Hovhannisyan lands biggest win of his career by outlasting Miguel Acosta for split-decision lightweight win.

July 20, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
(Alex Collins )

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.

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"I knew Art pulled off the last two rounds for sure," said Edmond Tarverdyan, Hovhannisyan's trainer.

Hovhannisyan made a quick statement, as the 10-second warning hit in the first round and he exploded out of a crouch with a devastating overhand right that sent Acosta to the canvas. Acosta rose just in time and the round ended emphatically.

"We worked on that," Tarverdyan said. "We knew Acosta has problems with the right hand."

Just as Acosta beat the 10-count, the bell rang to end the round.

"He was lucky with the bell," Hovhannisyan said.

But while Hovhannisyan dominated early, the veteran Acosta, who's now lost three of his last four bouts, came on in the middle rounds and often outworked Hovhannisyan and recorded a flash knockdown in the fifth that matched the fighters with 10-8 rounds. Much of the fight seemed to turn, as Hovhannisyan looked to tire a bit and Acosta started to get off first.

"When Art was moving forward, Acosta couldn't do anything," said Tarverdyan, who told Hovhannisyan before the ninth that he needed to move forward and be the aggressor. "When he waited, Acosta was winning.

"[Hovhannisyan] seemed to lose his legs in the later rounds. When he lost his legs he was there to get hit.

"I think if Art had his legs under him, he would've stopped him."

At the conclusion of 10 furious rounds, the two combined for just under 1,000 punches thrown, as Hovhannisyan landed 104 of 407 punches and Acosta connected on 124 of 592 blows.

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