The rising featherweight talent is taken to the distance for the first time as a pro in what was an exciting main event Sunday night on FS1.
Power is intoxicating. Once a fighter balls their taped hands into fists under the padded layers of a boxing glove and feel the give under their knuckles, they always want more. Especially fighters like Maliek Montgomery.
In his first 10 fights, the 25-year-old featherweight had known nothing but knockouts. On Sunday night in the FS1 PBC Fight Night main event from the Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, California, Aleem Jumakhonov stood in his way of having that feeling again.
Montgomery will need to wait until he next fights, after beating Jumakhonov by 10-round unanimous decision in an exciting back-and-forth fight, snapping Montgomery’s 10-fight stoppage streak.
Combined, Montgomery (339/973 total punches connected) and Jumakhonov (185/864) threw 1,837 punches, the most of any PBC fight this year.
“I feel great right now,” said Montgomery, who averaged 97 punches per round in going past the fourth round for the first time. “Me and coach Kenny Porter and my whole team, we had a great camp and we were prepared. I’m thankful for the opportunity and I feel really good. I’ll tell anyone that we have the best team in the business. With the conditioning we do in camp, the actual fight is the easy part.
“I felt good tonight. We’ve been ready for 10-round fights four fights ago. Going the distance and getting the recognition I deserved is a blessing.”
Coming out in a southpaw stance, Montgomery (11-0, 10 KOs) pounded Jumakhonov with the jab and used a straight left to cleave Jumakhonov’s defense. Montgomery did great work in the second, winding up with body shots and right uppercuts. Jumakhonov (9-4-2, 5 KOs) couldn’t do anything to back off Montgomery.
In the third, Jumakhonov caught Montgomery with a wide right to the side of the head. However, it was Montgomery controlling the action. By the seventh, Jumakhonov’s face was a bruised, swollen mess—although he had landed his share of quality shots, too, like a right that splashed on Montgomery’s face in the ninth.
Even so, it wasn’t enough to overcome Montgomery’s skill and volume punching.
Omar Juarez rebounds from his first loss with emphatic points win
Omar Juarez needed to rewind and hit the reset button on his career. The talented 22-year-old welterweight lost the last time he was in the ring against Filipino southpaw All Rivera three months ago.
Juarez challenged himself to learn how to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations. It worked. Juarez (12-1, 5 KOs) beat the tough veteran Jairo Lopez (27-14, 17 KOs) by eight-round unanimous decision.
Juarez, who said he needed back to go back to the fundamentals, got off to a strong start. He pelted Lopez with combinations to the head. He also countered well, but in the second, Lopez closed the distance and managed to press Juarez against the ropes.
Juarez ripped a right uppercut that snapped back Lopez’s head. Though in the last 40 seconds of the second, Lopez did land a few wide body shots, and popped Juarez with a right uppercut. In the third, Lopez waded into Juarez again, crouching forward and winging wide body shots again. Juarez wasn’t frazzled.
Then with :53 left in the fifth, Juarez dropped Lopez with a perfect right cross to the chin. Referee Ray Corona reached a count of eight, before Lopez got back up on his feet. Lopez managed to survive but never seriously threatened Juarez, who boxed and fought his way to a dominant points win by the score of 80-71 and 79-72 twice.
Angel Barrientes continues his win streak
Rangy 19-year-old super bantamweight Angel Barrientes put more distance on his lone loss with a unanimous six-round decision over Victor Torres.
Barrientes (6-1, 4 KOs) won for the third-straight time using his considerable 5-foot-11 height over the 5-foot-7 Torres (7-9-1, 5 KOs).
Barrientes started controlled, fought controlled, and ended the fight in a controlled way.
“I felt great,” Barrientes said. “Each fight I keep getting better and this is the most comfortable I ever felt in the ring. I’m still young and I still have a lot to learn. I’m going to continue getting better and grow. My loss never phases me. I always look at it as a fluke in my career and I’m going to keep working on getting better.”
Torres pressed early, willing to stay in the pocket. He was punished for doing so with a steady jab, body shots and counter punches. Barrientes hit Torres so hard he knocked out his mouthpiece twice.
Above all, Barrientes showed patience. Behind the jab, Barrientes built a good lead and rode it to an easy victory.
On the undercard, junior lightweight Demler Zamora (6-0, 5 KOs) stopped Richard Barnard (1-6-1) at 2:14 of the second round of a scheduled four-rounder. Featherweight Juan Muro (1-1) spoiled the pro debut of Bakersfield hometown fighter Nicholas Rubalcado (0-1) with a four-round split decision.
For a closer look at Montgomery vs Jumakhonov, check out our fight night page.