Abraham Nova gave himself exactly the 29th birthday present he needed on Saturday night.
Nova responded to his first loss, a fifth-round KO loss to Robeisy Ramirez nearly seven months ago, by defeating Adam Lopez in their 10-round, 130-pound bout on undercard Efe Ajagba-Stephan Shaw at Turning Stone Resort Casino defeated in Verona, New York. Nova (22-1, 15 KOs) produced two knockdowns, one in the fifth round and another in the sixth round, surpassing Lopez (16-4, 6 KOs, 1 NC) by unanimous decision.
Judges John McKaie (97-91), Eric Marlinski (98-90), and Don Trella (98-90) all gave Nova a convincing win.
Nova, from Albany, New York, was promoted back to the junior lightweight division for this fight. Ramirez (11-1, 7 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba, dropped Nova and beat him in the fifth round of a 10-round featherweight bout June 18 at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York.
Lopez, from Glendale, California, suffered with Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs), Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) and Isaac Dogboe (24-2, 15 KOs).
Nova looked tired on the 10th and final lap, but Lopez couldn’t put a stop to him.
Nova nailed Lopez with a counter left hook 1:10 into the 10th and final round. Lopez later pressured him in the 10th round, but Nova resisted Lopez’s attack and hit hard herself.
Lopez appeared to accidentally head butt Nova twice in the final minute of their fight, but referee Mark Nelson appeared to see neither breach.
Lopez landed on a right hand exchange, but Nova took it well with less than 20 seconds left in the ninth round.
Nova was again the attacker for most of the eighth round. As Nova started to pull away, Lopez drilled him with a right hand connected with just over 50 seconds on the clock in the eighth round.
Lopez was less willing to engage in the seventh round after suffering knockdowns in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Another right-left combination from Nova put Lopez 35 seconds into the sixth round. Lopez later tried to hold Nova, but he ended up falling to the canvas.
Nelson counted this as Nova’s second knockdown in as many rounds. Lopez protested Nelson’s call because he felt Nova push him to the canvas.
Despite this, Nova scored a knockdown in the fifth and sixth rounds respectively.
A right-left combination from Nova slapped Lopez flat on the back, leaving 1:25 in the fifth round. Lopez easily beat the count, but he mostly moved away from Nova as he spent the rest of round five recovering.
Back-to-back right hands from Nova landed just under 50 seconds from the end of round four. An earlier Nova right hand connected 30 seconds into the fourth round.
Lopez landed a left hook and quickly moved out of Nova’s batting range in the third round with less than 10 seconds on the clock.
Lopez snapped Nova’s head back with a right hand connected with just over two minutes into the third round. A few seconds earlier, Lopez landed two links next to Nova’s body.
Lopez and Nova landed with a right hand as they traded shots in the last minute of round two. Nova pinned Lopez with a left hook in an exchange just midway through the second round.
Nova’s right hand, which landed just over 1:15 on the clock, was the most striking shot of the first half.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.