Red Deer Boxing Club product Arash Usmanee nearly became a world champion Friday. Nearly.
Usmanee took on International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior lightweight champion Argenis ‘La Tormenta’ Mendez in the main event of an ESPN Friday Night Fights card and battled the champ to a 12-round majority draw.
The fight, promoted by Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions, featured the dogged determination of Usmanee versus the hand speed and powerful counter punching of Mendez.
Usmanee was the aggressor through the first five rounds and forced Mendez to defend constantly.
But the champion tagged Usmanee with clean combinations down the stretch and gained momentum.
But Usmanee made Mendez pay when the champ dropped his hands and in the 12th round both fighters were exchanging combinations when the final bell rang.
At the conclusion of the thrilling, action-packed bout, the judges decided that neither fighter was the clear winner.
Mendez felt he had done enough to warrant a victory.
“I’m really disappointed in the decision,” he said. “I’m the champion and I thought I won.”
“It was a very close fight,” he said. “It depends on how you judge a fight. I was the aggressor. It could have gone either way.”