Mike Coppinger

N’Dam shuts out Zuniga in main event of King Sports’ gala debut show

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The first edition of King Sports’ fight night series was a rousing success both in and out of the squared circle.

Plush white couches filled with celebrities were sprinkled around the ring, with long-legged servers there to make sure they had a fresh drink in hand.

Names such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wayne Knight, a.k.a. Newman from Seinfeld, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns were in attendance, among others.

Oh, and the fights were pretty damned good, too.

Former middleweight titleholder Hassan N’Dam was impressive in the featured bout, scoring a shutout unanimous decision over Fulgenico Zuniga – 100-90 on all three cards.

N’Dam (30-1, 18 knockouts) moved well and was able to get off in bursts. However, he appeared to suffer a left hand injury midway through the fight, as he stopped throwing with that hand.

But his right hand did more than enough damage, and Zuniga (26-9-1, 23 KOs) had little answers.

N’Dam lost the WBO middleweight belt to Peter Quillin in October 2012 when he was dropped six times. However, he actually won more rounds than Quillin and remains one of the better middleweights in the world. He’s now promoted by King Sports and seems primed for a meaningful fight later in 2014.

In the co-feature, South African Chris van Heerden continued his ascent up the ranks. He defeated his fifth consecutive recognizable opponent, a split decision win over Ray Narh. One judge scored it for Narh, 97-93, while the other two judges scored it for van Heerden, 96-96 and 96-94.

Narh (26-5, 21 KOs) has now lost three in a row after a career-best win over Ronald Cruz in 2013. He also lost to Ray Robinson and Jessie Vargas in his last three bouts.

Van Heedren (21-1-1, 11 KOs) seems primed for a bigger fight at welterweight with the victory, but says he wants to wait six to 12 months before getting a big fight.

He reeled off wins over Sebastian Lujan, Kaizer Mabuza, Matthew Hatton and Cosme Rivera heading into Wednesday’s bout.

In a battle of undefeated heavyweights, Charles Martin stopped Alex Flores in Round 4. Time of the stoppage was 1:14.

Martin (16-0, 14 KOs) dropped Flores (14-1, 12 KOs) in the waning moments of the third round, then finished the job in Rounds 4. A left-right combo to the body did the trick.

HBO Sports’ Ken Hersham was ringside, perhaps to scout N’Dam for a future middleweight bout on the network. King Sports president, TV mogul Michael King, announced that his next fight card will take place May 20 on the Santa Monica Pier.

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