Armenian contender Azat Hovhannisyan is one step closer to another world title opportunity.
Hovhannisyan defeated Franklin Manzanilla via knockout at 2:58 of the fourth round of a scheduled 12-round eliminator fight in the main event of the September 5 edition of Golden Boy DAZN Thursday Night Fights at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles.
The hard-punching, Hovhannisyan (18-3, 15 KOs), who is trained by Freddie Roach, stopped Manzanilla two seconds before the fourth stanza with a dominant spell along the ropes that finished the Colombian contender once and for all. The 31-year-old, Hovhannisyan is now riding a four-fight winning streak after losing his first world title shot against WBC champion Rey Vargas last year.
“This was a very easy fight at first,” said Hovhannisyan. “I could have made it a 12-round fight, and he would not have touched me. I wanted to make it a tough fight. I didn’t even feel his punches.”
Manzanilla (18-6, 17 KOs), lost to Vargas earlier this year, was dominated throughout the entire bout, and was unable to show his power to upset Hovhannisyan like he momentarily did Vargas in his fight with a second-round knockdown.
Roman suffered a shoulder injury during a sparring session on Aug. 17 and was forced to pull out of his IBF and WBA world title defense against mandatory challenger Murodjon Akhmadaliev (6-0, 5 KOs) on Sept. 13 at the Hulu Theater in New York.
Hovhannisyan is now inching closer to fighting WBA and IBF champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10 KOs).