It initially seemed Friday night that Martino Jules’ lack of power would hurt his cause against Aram Avagyan.
Jules eventually neutralized Avagyan’s pressure, though, dropped Avagyan in the final minute of their eight-round junior lightweight bout and won a unanimous decision at Heartland Events Center in Grand Island, Nebraska. The 24-year-old Jules (11-0, 2 KOs), a southpaw from Allentown, Pennsylvania, won comfortably on the scorecards of judges Mike Contreras (78-73), Josef Mason (77-74) and John Klemiato (79-72) in the opener of a “ShoBox: The New Generation” tripleheader.
Armenia’s Avagyan, who had over 300 amateur bouts, suffered the first defeat of his professional career (10-1-2, 4 KOs).
Avagyan, 30, came in Thursday three pounds over the contracted weight limit of 126. Jules agreed to move forward with their fight anyway.
As it turned out, their eight-rounder wasn’t as competitive entering the final round as Showtime’s broadcasting team thought.
Referee Mark Nelson sternly warned Avagyan for leading with his head 45 seconds into the eighth round. About a minute later, Nelson appeared to deduct a point from Avagyan for questionable tactics.
Another 20 seconds later, Jules’ short, left hand on the inside sent Avagyan to both knees. Avagyan quickly reached his feet and made it to the final bell.
Nelson warned Avagyan for leading with his head just after the midway mark of the seventh round. Jules and Avagyan exchanged left hands several seconds later in the middle of the ring.
Jules used his jab effectively in the opening minute of the sixth round. Avagyan got inside during the middle minute of that round and landed to Jules’ head and body.
Jules blasted Avagyan with a left uppercut when there were just under 40 seconds to go in the sixth round.
Jules tried to keep Avagyan off of him again in the fifth round, but his lack of power prevented that from happening. Avagyan landed a right hand with just under 20 seconds to go in the fifth round.
Just before the fifth round ended, though, Jules’ left uppercut stopped Avagyan in his tracks.
Avagyan attacked Jules at the start of the fourth round, when Jules tried to hold and fend off his aggressive opponent. A flush left hook by Avagyan knocked Jules off balance with approximately 45 seconds on the clock in the fourth round.
A left hook by Avagyan turned Jules’ head around and caused him to hold with just under 50 seconds to go in the third round.
Avagyan kept pressuring Jules throughout the second round and landed the more effective punches inside. The aggressor hit Jules with two left hooks in the final 10 seconds of that round.
Avagyan landed a right hand about 45 seconds into the opening round. He connected with another overhand right about 20 seconds later.
Jules’ straight left hand knocked Avagyan off balance with just over a minute remaining in the opening round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.