Samuel Carmona is a man of many tricks in the ring and had to resort to nearly all of them to preserve his unbeaten mark.

The 2016 Olympian dug deep to prevail over former title challenger Joel Cordova, claiming a ten-round, unanimous decision. Judges Raul Gonzalez (96-94), Salvador Salva (96-93) and Francisco Sedano (97-93) scored in favor of Carmona in a tightly-contested junior bantamweight scrap Friday evening from Palau Olímpic Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona, Spain.

Mexico City’s Cordova entered the fight following a nine-plus month break after a sixth-round stoppage loss to countryman and WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez last June. He managed to transfer that experience into a competitive showing versus Carmona, an Olympic quarterfinalist for Spain during the 2016 Rio Games who was forced to go ten rounds for the first time in his young career.

Carmona fought at close quarters early in the contest but was forced to use lateral movement in his best effort to keep a stalking Cordova at bay. The tactic didn’t always work, as Cordova picked up steam in the second half while Carmona expended a considerable amount of energy.

Cordova nearly pulled off an upset knockout win in round eight, with Carmona badly hurt and spent for much of the round. Carmona was fortunate to avoid a knockdown call, as an overhand right left the unbeaten Spaniard badly dazed and eventually falling to the canvas. Enough time had lapsed between the punch and the fall to where locally based referee Alfonso Monroy ruled a slip in what reeked of a hometown call.

Carmona turned the tables early in round nine. A sweeping left hand by the 25-year-old southpaw made its way around Cordova’s high guard in sending the Mexican straight back to the canvas. Cordova furiously protested the call, insisting it was a slip but his cries falling on deaf ears.

The sequence was enough to prompt a late rally by Cordova (13-6-2, 3KOs), who had Carmona hurt in the final thirty seconds of the contest but was unable to close the show. Carmona (7-0, 4KOs) moved for much of the round and clinched any time he felt his legs begin to buckle, managing to make it to the final bell and preserve his unbeaten record.

Hrvoje Sep was never allowed to take a step back in his first step-up fight.

It resulted in his first career defeat, as Ricards Bolotniks claimed a well-earned unanimous decision win over eight rounds. Bolotniks won by scores of 78-75, 78-75 and 77-75 in the opening bout of a five-fight DAZN telecast.

Bolotniks made his presence felt from the opening bell, forcing a toe-to-toe fight. The battle-tested Bolotniks—a rugged gatekeeper from Riga, Latvia—was effective with his overhand right and crisp body shots, along with a right uppercut to catch the attention of Sep in the first round.

Sep turned the tide in round three, plowing forward as he began to wear down Bolotniks. The squat 5’9” light heavyweight—who represented Croatia in the 2016 Rio Olympics—pushed Bolotniks to the ropes, landing his right hand over the top of his opponent’s guard and coming back with a left hook to the body.

Momentum remained in Sep’s favor as Bolotniks briefly showed signs of slowing down at the bout’s midway point. Bolotniks found his second win at the right time, pressing the action in a high-contact round six. Both fighters were effective at close quarters, Bolotniks enjoying a stronger start to the round and Sep picking up the pace over the back end of the frame.

The trend spilled over into the penultimate round. Bolotniks sensed an upset was within reach, intensifying his workrate. Sep managed to keep pace but suddenly conceded ground to Bolotniks who was consistently first to the punch in the final two rounds.

Sep was effective when he let his hands go but was outworked on the occasions when he planted his feet to get off his shots. Those moments were seized by Bolotniks who punched through such lapses in his best effort to catch the attention of the judges.

It worked, as Bolotniks returns to the win column for the first time in well over a year. He improves to (19-6-1, 8KOs) with the win, rebounding from an eleventh-round stoppage at the hands of 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist Joshua Buatsi last August in Brentwood, Essex, England.

The late-blooming Sep falls to 11-1 (8KOs) in defeat.

Another opponent saw their “0” go, as England’s Stevi Levy was outworked by former IBF junior bantamweight titlist Jorgelina Guanini over eight two-minute rounds.

Scores of 80-73, 79-73 and 79-75 all landed in favor of Buenos Aires’ Guanini (10-4-2, 1KO), who bullied the previously unbeaten Levy (5-1, 0KOs). The win was the first for Guanini since claiming the IBF junior bantamweight title in September 2018. The 29-year-old Argentinean has since gone 0-3-1 including a narrow points loss to unbeaten Ellie Scotney just seven weeks ago in London.

Levy attempted a last-ditch rally in the final round, but proved inconsequential on the scorecards. The fight was the first for Levy outside of England and versus an opponent with a winning record, though she held her own versus a former titlist while in her sixth pro fight after a limited amateur career.

Jhon Jader Obegron preserved his unblemished record following an eight-round, unanimous decision win over Kyle Lomotrey. Scores were 80-71, 78-73 and 77-73 in favor of Obregon in a scrappy and at times dirty affair between unbeaten middleweights in a bout fought at the super middleweight limit.

Lancashire’s Lomotrey (10-1, 2KOs) traveled outside of England for just the second time in his career, entering his opponent’s home country with the intention of making things as uncomfortable as possible for Obregon. It worked to a degree, though also at a cost as Lomotrey was deducted a point in round six following frequent head clashes.

Obregon (10-0, 4KOs) overcame the dirty tactics of Lomotry to power his way to victory.

Headlining the show, local hero Sandor Martin (39-2, 13KOs) faces Los Mochis, Mexico’s Jose Felix (39-5-1, 30KOs) in his first fight since an upset, ten-round win over former four-division titlist Mikey Garcia last October in the U.S.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox