On Friday, September 30, at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, in an eliminator to earn a shot at WBA World lightweight champion Jorge Linares, WBA #4 ranked Petr “Zar” Petrov (38-4-2, 18 KOs), the veteran from Madrid, Spain, by way of Ryazan, Russia, stopped WBA #3 ranked Michael “The Artist” Perez (24-2-2, 11 KOs), from Newark, New Jersey, at the end of the sixth round of a scheduled 12.
All three judges had it 60-53 at the time of the stoppage.
Petrov drew first blood from above Perez’s right eye in round two, from an accidental clash of heads, and dropped him with two rights to the head. The fighters were cut from headbutts in rounds two, four and five. A series of body shots and another right to the head almost ended it early.
“Zar” was relentless. He beat Perez to the punch. He applied more pressure in rounds three and four.
Perez changed tactics in round five with limited results. Petrov outworked Perez, landing hard shots to the body and head. Perez’s face was a mess. Petrov was wearing the Newark native down.
Cut, bleeding, defenseless and not firing back, Perez’s trainer, Robert Garcia, chose to stop it.
“During this fight, I followed what my trainer told me to do—which was watch him closely and break him down,” said Petrov after the fight. “I did exactly that, and everyone was able to see the result.”
Twenty-six-year-old Perez had not lost a light since 2012. He won the vacant WBA Fedelatin super lightweight title in September 2013, a title he successfully defended twice, and the vacant WBO NABO lightweight title last July.
The fight with 33-year-old Petrov was a fight he was picked to win.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” said Perez. “I came into this fight expecting something different, but it happens. From here it’s back to the drawing board and I’ll definitely be returning to the ring again soon.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.