Ziyaf Almaayouf was forced to overcome an early scare to avoid a disastrous outcome.

The 22-year-old Saudi native survived a first-round knockdown to outpoint Ecuador’s Ronnald Martinez. All three judges scored the contest 38-37 in favor of Almaayoouf in their ESPN+ Pay-Per-View preliminary bout Sunday evening from Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

Martinez established an early willingness to upset the apple cart, when he connected with a right uppercut midway through the round. Almaayouf didn’t quite learn the lesson to settle down and paid the price. Both fighters simultaneously threw right hands, with Martinez landing the more impactful blow to produce the bout’s lone knockdown.

Almaayouf beat the count and even managed a right hand of his own near the end of the round. Martinez (3-2-1, 0KOs) was unable to replicate the early magic, instead showing a world class beard as Almaayouf—who trains in Los Angeles under the guidance of Hall of Fame former two-division champion James ‘Buddy’ McGirt—landed heavy leather throughout the rest of the contest.

Almaayouf advanced to 2-0 (1KO) with the win, six months after a first-round knockout win in his pro debut on the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua rematch last August 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 

Bader Samreen picked up the quickest win of his young career, as he needed just 86 seconds to take out veteran fringe contender Viorel Simion. A right hand shot forced Romanian to the canvas, with the fight subsequently halted at 1:26 of round one in the opening bout of the PPV.

The lightweight contest saw Samreen fight calmly under pressure. Simion (23-10, 9KOs) has several notable names but the 41-year-old boxer was little more than a stepping stone even in his heyday. He was no match for the skills and power possessed by Samreen, who crashed home a right hand over the top of Simion’s guard.

The sequence marked the final punch thrown in the fight. Simion hit the deck, at which point referee Daniel Van de Wiele realized the fallen boxer was in no condition to continue.

Samreen advanced to 8-0 (7KOs) with the win and has now stopped each of his past five opponents. Included in that stretch is a second-round stoppage of Fuad Tarverdi on the undercard of the Usyk-Joshua rematch. 

Muhsin Cason ended his one-year ring absence—to the day—with a first-round stoppage of Azerbaijan’s Taryel Jafarov.  

The significantly younger brother of former lineal heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman Sr., Cason dropped Jafarov (18-6, 17KOs) with the first punch thrown in the fight, an overhand right that left the Azerbaijani on wobbly legs before he fell to the canvas less than 30 seconds into the contest. Jafarov beat the count and spent the rest of the round playing keep away while attempting to clear his head.

The corner for Jafarov did not like what they saw in between rounds, at which point the fight was stopped. Cason advanced to 11-0 (8KOs) with the win, also his fifth consecutive stoppage.  

Headlining the show, Jake Paul (6-0, 4KOs) and Tommy Fury (8-0, 4KOs) will collide in a scheduled eight-round cruiserweight contest.

Also on the show, WBC cruiserweight titlist Ilunga ‘Junior’ Makabu (29-2, 25KOs) attempts his third title defense versus former two-division titleholder Badou Jack (27-3-3, 16KOs).

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox