ATLANTIC CITY — Atlantic City cruiserweight boxer Hector Perez angrily slammed his fist on the canvas while blood seeped from a cut above his right eye Saturday night.

Three rounds into his scheduled six-round fight against Trenton’s Mike Hilton, the two had waged a thrilling brawl that brought a roaring crowd at The Claridge hotel to its feet.

The fight ended after the third round, however, due to an accidental head butt in that round that produced the cut on Perez’s forehead. He wanted to keep fighting, but ringside physican Dr. Wei Xu ordered the fight stopped after examining Perez (3-2, 2 KOs) in his corner.

“The cut was very deep, and his corner couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Xu said. “There was no way he could continue.”

Because three rounds were completed, under the unified rules established by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, judges were required to submit scorecards. Jacqueline Aikens, Lindsey Page and Alan Rubenstein all gave Hilton (9-0, 7 KOs) a 28-26 advantage, making it a unanimous decision.

Perez and his corner protested.

“What they did was illegal,” Perez said. “The fight’s supposed to go four rounds for it to be a decision. But I was fighting the favorite, so that’s what happens.”

Control Board Commissioner Larry Hazzard said the rule was enforced correctly.

“According to the unified rules, a six-round fight goes to the scorecards after three rounds are complete,” Hazzard said. “People get caught up in the ‘four-round rule,’ but that’s only for (12-round) championship fights.”

The cut ended a wildly entertaining bout that featured three knockdowns.

Perez, who received stitches at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, afterward, nearly scored a first-round knockout. He caught Hilton on the chin with a left hook, causing Hilton’s left ankle to twist on his way to the canvas. Hilton got up but had trouble finding his corner when the bell rang to end the round.

Perez went down in the second and third rounds, though video showed referee Eddie Claudio incorrectly ruling a knockdown in the third round.

“One guy (Perez) was cut and the other guy (Hilton) was limping on a sprained ankle,” Xu said. “I had to stop it.”

OTHER FIGHTS

Perez was one of four local fighters in action as part of a card promoted by Mis Downing Promotions.

Barnegat junior-middleweight Danny Murray’s fight against Latorie Woodberry, of Roanoke, Virginia, ended in the first round.

Murray (3-1, 0 KOs) dropped Woodberry (1-6-1, 0 KOs), who suffered a right shoulder injury when he hit the canvas. Xu examined him and ruled he could not continue, resulting in the fight being declared a no-decision.

Vineland featherweight Edgar Cortes (6-4, 0 KOs) earned his third straight win with a four-round unanimous decision over Atlantic City’s Kevin Asmat (3-2).

In the main event, Paulsboro heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon (36-3, 28 KOs) took an eight-round unanimous decision over Lamont Capers (9-12-4, 1 KO), of Hawley, Pennsylvania.

Witherspoon was supposed to take on Mike Sheppard (25-22-2, 11 KOs), of Palestine, West Virginia, but Sheppard was forced to withdraw for medical reasons. Capers stepped in just one week after earning a second-round TKO victory in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Elsewhere on the undercard, Rockville, Maryland, cruiserweight Willis Lockett (17-22-6, 5 KOs) used a strong body attack to upset former contender Prince Badi Ajamu (28-4-1, 15 KOs) via a six-round majority decision in boxing’s version of a senior citizen special. Lockett is 41, Ajamu 46.

North Bergen junior-welterweight John Bauza (9-0, 5 KOs) scored a six-round unanimous decision over Nicaragua’s David Morales (13-8, 12 KOs).

Super-bantamweight Alejandro Jiminez won his pro debut with a second-round TKO over Cincinnati’s Derrick Pitts (0-2).

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Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg

Sportswriter/columnist

Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 25th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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