By Rocky Morales at ringside
In the featured 10 round heavyweight attraction, Russian fighter Sergey Kuzmin (6-0, 3KO) played the bull while fleet footed Rodney Hernandez (9-4-1, 2KO) played the matador, doing well to stay out of harms way but fighting backing up and dodging for most of the fight. Kuzmin seemed content to box for the first half of the fight but by the time he tried to apply real pressure, Hernandez was nowhere to be found and Kuzmin had to settle for a comfortable unanimous decision victory by scores of 100-90, 98-92 and 97-93. Kuzmin, a decorated former amateur fighter who won the 2010 European next returns to Russia for a showdown with an 18-0 fighter in April.
The vacant junior lightweight WBA-NABA US title was on the line and Bekman Soylybaev (8-0, 3KO) won it with an eight round unanimous decision victory over veteran Moises Delgadillo (15-14, 8KO). Soylybaev was too quick for the plodding Delgadillo and won a shutout victory of 80-74 on all three judges scorecards to win the title.
Opening bout action saw Thomas Hill (6-0, 1KO) win a unanimous decision victory over Tavoris Teague (3-8) in a six round middleweight bout. Judges scored it 58-56, 59-55 and 60-54, all in favor of Hill.
A competitive four round featherweight matchup between debuting local fighters pitted Guadalupe Arroyo (1-0) against Carlos Gonzalez (0-1). Arroyo did just enough to overcome the determined Gonzalez and secured a majority decision victory by scores of 40-36, 39-37, 37-39.
The best fight of the night was a four round junior middleweight bout that saw Lucas Santa Maria (4-0) win a see saw battle with Timothy Lee (3-1, 2KO). Lee opened strongly, dropping Santa Maria in the opening round, only for Santa Maria to return the favor by dropping Lee in the second round. From there, Santa Maria was able to take control to win a unanimous decision victory by a score of 38-36 on all three judges scorecards.
In the final bout of the evening, a scheduled 10 round light heavyweight bout, Dmitry Bivol (6-0, 6KO), hailing from Russia, put on the most impressive display of the evening in halting veteran Brazilian fighter Cleiton Conceicao (22-9, 18KO). Bivol floored Conceicao twice in the second round but Conceicao was able to survive and got on his bicycle in the third round but Bivol caught up to him again in the fourth round, dropping him twice more with the referee waving off the bout after that fourth knockdown. Bivol has faced very stiff competition in his young career, facing veteran fighters with winning records in each and every fight and winning his debut fight against a 35 fight veteran as well as winning two minor titles in his two previous fights.
Fight Club OC, presented by Roy Englebrecht Promotions, makes it a successful opening show for 2016 with a sellout of 1484 and showcasing very talented fighters from each Russia and Kazakhstan with plenty of local fighters to entertain the crowd. Fight Club OC returns to The Hangar at the OC Fairgrounds and Event Center on Thursday, April 7th. For ticket info, visit www.fightcluboc.com