Jerry Okorodudu of Nigeria got a little help from a strange occurrence on his way to a 10-round draw with Mark Kaylor of England Monday in the main event of the monthly boxing program at the Irvine Marriott.
Kaylor was ahead going into the seventh round, during which the fighters locked near the corner. As referee Larry Rosadilla pushed them apart, Kaylor threw a punch and Okorodudu went down, though more from surprise than the power of the punch.
"He just hit me late," Okorodudu said. "The referee said to stop, and as I was backing off, he hit me."
Kaylor lost a point for the late punch, dropping him into a tie on two judges' cards and costing him the victory. Kaylor won on one card, 96-92, but that score was overruled by the 95-95 and 94-94 draws.
"I just grazed him," Kaylor said of the punch. "I guess he was looking for a way out."
The fighters spent most of the first three rounds leaning against each other and not throwing many punches.
In the fourth, Okorodudu started with a decent combination that helped pick up the action in front of 1,060 spectators.
Kaylor (35-5-1) took the advantage at the start of the fifth round. As the fighters walked toward each other, Kaylor let loose a powerful right to the jaw of Okorodudu (17-6-1), who quickly fell. He was up by a count of five, however, and ready to go before the eight count was finished.
"I was surprised he got up, I didn't think he was going to," Kaylor said.
Kaylor continued to land solid punches the remainder of the fifth and most of the sixth and seventh rounds.
Okorodudu became the more active fighter in the final three rounds, but he never had Kaylor close to going down.
"I thought I won the fight," Okorodudu said. "It was the knockdown that made the difference."
In a four-round fight, Mike Samaza of Villa Park won a unanimous decision over Oscar Gonzalez of Bakersfield at 124 pounds.
Samaza (1-0-1) scored a pair of second-round knockdowns. The first came on a quick, sharp left with about 50 seconds left in the round. The second came on a chopping right with 20 seconds left. Gonzalez is 6-8-1.