Nikita Ababiy was forced to go the distance for the fourth straight time but remained unbeaten in the process. The unbeaten Brooklyn-based boxer prevailed in an eight-round, unanimous decision win over Noe Larios Jr. Scores were 78-74 across the board Saturday evening at Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
The fight marked the junior middleweight debut for Ababiy (11-0, 6KOs), who campaigned at middleweight since his October 2018 pro debut, though deciding to drop down in weight for his latest ring adventure. There appeared to be more pop in his punches, hurting Larios (14-2, 6KOs) in round two but unable to close the show.
Larios was actually more competitive after the sequence, testing the mettle of Ababiy though suffering his second straight defeat. The California native was stopped inside of nine rounds by unbeaten middleweight prospect Caoimhin Agyarko last December in Liverpool.
Ababiy scored six knockouts—all in two rounds or less—within his first seven fights, followed by a first-round disqualification win over Jonathan Batista in November 2019. The 23-year-old has now seen each of his last four fights go to the scorecards, struggling to reclaim the earlier hype that surrounded his career.
Jesus Martinez avoided disaster to preserve his unbeaten record in his first month as a pro. The 17-year-old from Del Rio, Texas survived a third-round knockdown to claim a four-round, majority decision win over Keven Monroy. Scores of 38-37 and 39-36 overruled the dissenting card of 38-38 to allow Martinez to advance to 2-0 (0KOs), with both wins coming in a span of just fifteen days.
The promising bantamweight—who is co-managed by Hall of Fame former two-division champ Joe Calzaghe and former middleweight titlist Darren Barker—turned pro on June 10 in Guadalajara, going the four-round distance in a shutout win over Daniel Nunez. A far more daunting task was presented by Spring Valley, California’s Monroy, who waded through several power shots to floor Martinez with a left hand just before the bell to end the third round.
Martinez beat the count and managed to finish strong in the fourth and final round to turn away the stiff challenge.
Both bouts aired on DAZN and Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel as part of DAZN’s ‘Before The Bell’ series six-preceding the main card.
Headlining the show, locally-based unbeaten WBC junior bantamweight titlist Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (15-0, 10KOs) attempts his first defense Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43KOs), a former two-time WBC champ from Si Sa Ket, Thailand.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox