Petrov Wins Ragged Decision Over Diaz On Friday Night Fights

It was nothing pretty, but it got the job done for Petr Petrov: The long-sidelined Russian returned to Friday Night Fights, the forum for his rise, to defeat Gamaliel Diaz by a ragged unanimous decision on ESPN2.

There was nothing unclear about the victory, no matter how much Diaz (above left) tried to muddy it with roughhouse tactics. The closest thing to ambiguity came in the 1st round, when Diaz scored a knockdown via a left to the shoulder that was more of a shove. From then on, it was all Petrov (above right), who was hurting the faded veteran gatekeeper with most of his punches early. The 1st could’ve even been scored for Petrov, such was the reversal. Yet Diaz continually rallied, just not enough to actually do much damage or outwork Petrov.

After the 7th he kind of came unraveled. A leaping left hook put Diaz on his ass, and he took a pounding for the rest of the round, too. He lost a point for low blows in the same stanza. In the 8th a possible knockdown of Petrov was scored a slip, and by the 9th Diaz was so frustrated he was spending more of his time pleading with referee Jack Reiss than punching. Diaz was doing more roughhousing than Petrov, but it’s not like he had no case — there were a fair number of head butts and low blows from Petrov, too, one of which opened a cut near Diaz’s left eye. The problem was, Reiss wasn’t having any of it, and it was so tiresome he told him to stop bullshitting (“no mierda”) and warned his corner that if he kept crying, he’d be disqualified. The 10th round was academic. The scores were 98-89 and 97-90 times two.

Petrov gets immediately back into the lightweight mix, where he had some momentum after winning one of ESPN’s Boxcino tournaments. He didn’t look great, perhaps rusty after an 11-month layoff after the Hank Lundy fight was canceled, perhaps thrown off by Diaz’s veteran tricks and unorthodox movement. But he also was in full control, and only a knockout would’ve been more convincing.

On the undercard, junior middleweight Taras Shelestyuk overcame a bad cut to win a unanimous decision over Juan Rodriguez, Jr. and Emmanuel Robles got his own UD over Wilberth Lopez. Neither fight was terribly interesting, despite a fair amount of contact.

(Photo: Carlos Baeza/Thompson Boxing)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.