But as cornermen Karen Darabedyan and Roma Kalentaryan carried him out, Magakian had a victorious smile across his face.
Very much a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, Magakian prevailed in Lights Out Promotions’ “Chaos at the Casino 3” main event, earning a very hard-fought unanimous decision over Chris Saunders in their three-round lightweight bout.
Glendale’s Magakian concluded a night filled with highlights for fighters with local ties, as boxers Vache Martirosyan and Vahe Vadanyan, muay Thai kickboxer Melsik Bagdasaryan and MMA fighters Alfred Kashakyan and Vardan Shilolyan all claimed victory.
“I don’t know where it happened,” said Magakian of the injury, which was believed by his corner to be a dislocated left foot. “I couldn’t even step forward.”
In a matchup of former “The Ultimate Fighter” combatants from separate seasons, Magakian (14-5-1) won the first two rounds to take the decision over Saunders (10-6), 29-28 on all three cards.
“I knew [after] the first two, I had it,” Magakian said.
Less than a minute into the opening round, Magakian looked to have merely planted his foot wrong and pulled his left leg back. Limping noticeably, he backed himself into his corner. From there, he would land a slew of head shots to Saunders, a one-time Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran, who zeroed in on Magakian’s left leg with leg kicks. A big left hook stunned Saunders and later on, after Magakian took another leg kick, he exploded for a takedown. Saunders was opened up over his left eye and Magakian landed some ground and pound before Saunders worked the fight back up to the feet. Just before the round ended, Magakian delivered a right uppercut that sent Saunders to a knee before he bounced up.
In between rounds, the ringside doctor took a look at the foot of Magakian, who trains at Glendale’s Main Event Boxing Club and Team Hayastan. Given the option of stopping the fight, Magakian soldiered on.
“I said, ‘No,’ I was not gonna stop,” Magakian said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
What happened was another round in favor of Magakian. Off another Saunders leg kick, Magakian landed a straight right, then later a left hook that buckled Saunders. Magakian worked another takedown and took Saunders’ back. Saunders stood up in the middle of the ring with Magakian on his back going for a choke. Saunders wiggled him off, but was then on the receiving end of a judo throw.
The third was Saunders’ round, as he floored Magakian with a left hook and took top position. The two exchanged with Saunders landing rights to the body and left elbows, while Magakian answered with right hands from the bottom.
At the fight’s conclusion, Saunders jumped onto the middle rope of the turnbuckle and threw his hands in the air, while Kalentaryan put Magakian on his shoulders.
Moments later, Magakian was announced the winner. Minutes after, he was in the back, being attended to by paramedics, who put a makeshift splint on his left leg and on his left hand, which he also injured. He was later taken to the hospital.
While Magakian toughed out a hard-fought win, the night’s most devastating and impressive performance may well have come from Martirosyan, who improved to 2-0 in his burgeoning boxing career and demolished Carlos Meraz (1-1) in the process.
Martirosyan knocked down Meraz three times on the way to a first-round knockout at the 1:42 mark.
“I’m really happy. I give it a ‘B,’” said the 21-year-old Martirosyan, the younger brother of former Olympian and current top-10 junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan. “I rushed a little bit, got anxious, but we got it done.”
Martirosyan came out calm and cool before landing a right to the body and following with a perfect left hook to the chin that floored Meraz.
“I saw him jumping in,” said Martirosyan, who also had Kalentaryan in his corner and his older brother rooting him on not far behind. “We really time the right to the stomach and then the left up top. … It worked out.”
Meraz got to his feet, but Martirosyan knew he had him.