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Usmanee outlasts veteran Ruiz in Edmonton card

EDMONTON — Red Deer Boxer Arash Usmanee experienced the frustration — and discovered why so many former world champions and top contenders have failed to stop California’s Juan Ruiz — in the main event of the KO Promotions boxing card Friday at Shaw Conference Centre.

“He is a vet, and he knew every little trick in there,” said Usmanee, 21-2-1. “He was low blowing me all day and doing little dirty tricks in there, but he is a veteran. I had to roll with him. I knew he was awkward, but it is a different thing once you’re in the ring though.”

Usmanee came out in the first round looking for the knockout, but Ruiz, 23-14, was slick in making him miss. The former five-time Canadian amateur champion was able to land a couple of solid uppercuts and a straight rights, enough to win the round, but not enough to get the California native in trouble.

In the second round, Ruiz, 35, switched tactics, becoming the aggressor. Fighting like a miniature version of his namesake — former WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz — he buried his head in Usmanee’s chest, clutched, grabbed, head-butted, leaned down and away to his right and than pot-shotted with overhand rights and left hooks, to win his only round of the fight.

The Red Deer boxer made adjustments in the third round, landing one-two’s, uppercuts and straight rights, enough to win the round and the next three rounds, but was never able to find his rhythm. Usmanee, 32, became so frustrated in the seventh that he picked up Ruiz and body-slammed him.

Referee Len Koivisto of Red Deer took a point away from Usmanee and later in the round deducted a point from Ruiz for low blows.

In the eighth and final round, both boxers upped the tempo with Usmanee looking for the knockout and Ruiz looking to win the round, but the Canadian was able to take the round, landing more combinations compared to Ruiz’ single potshots.

The judges scored the bout 78-72 twice for Usmanee, and inexplicably 75-75, for a majority decision win for the Canadian fighter. The Advocate scored the bout 78-72 for Usmanee.

After the bout Usmanee was not pleased with his showing.

“I am not happy with that (my performance). Mentally I was not in the right mindset. I was really prepared for the KO.”

Red Deer boxer Cam O’Connell had his bout against Jamie Ocequeda cancelled at the last moment, as his opponent was a no-show.

On the undercard, former Red Deer resident Lynell House came in as an underdog and last-minute replacement, but gave hometown favourite Sheena Kaine everything she could handle.

House used movement and her southpaw stance to perfection, confusing Kaine and winning the first two rounds of the bout. The third round between the two was extremely competitive, with Kaine taking the fourth and final round. Judges scored the bout, 39-37, 40-36, and 38-38 for a majority decision win for Kaine.



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