JJ Mariano’s cat-like quickness was on full display for his second pro win on Saturday at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
The Reno native and former Nevada Wolf Pack boxing champion played to the home crowd and took a 40-36 unanimous four-round decision victory over Sean Cerveny of San Antonio, Texas.
Cerveny threw his fair share haymakers, but Mariano countered with agility and lightning-quick combinations. He improved to 2-0 with one knockout in two pro fights. Cerveny fell to 0-2.
Mariano dished out punches, and Cerveny kept coming back for more.
“He’s a tough guy,” he said. “I’m not gonna knock him because I hit him with some pretty gnarly shots. He just wouldn’t go down.”
Toward the final two rounds, Mariano’s agility in the ring was too much for Cerveny to handle.
“He had some MMA experience, so I just danced around him,” he said. “I kept him at bay with my jab and I had distance on him. Just another day in the office.”
The 5-foot-10 Mariano used his height advantage against the 5-foot-6 Cerveny. He landed three-straight jabs to Cerveny’s face in the first round. Mariano capped-off the round with a solid 1-2 combination.
Cerveny battled for inside position for much of the second round. Mariano answered Cerveny’s aggressiveness with a calmer approach, stepping away and using his reach to land strikes.
Mariano clipped Cerveny with a right hook to the right eye, leaving a bloody welch for the rest of the match.
“I put together some combinations, kept it simple,” he said. “I left a pretty good mark on him, that’s for sure.”
Both fighters traded blows in the third round. Cerveny swung for the fences and landed a powerful right hook. Mariano responded with a pair of left hooks to the body.
Mariano tied the bow on his impressive outing in the fourth round. He countered Cerveny’s inside punches with quick right jabs to the face.
When the unanimous decision was announced, the Reno crowd filled the convention center with screams and hollers.
“I appreciate all the support the 775 has given,” he said. “Since my college days, the home crowd has just gotten bigger and bigger. … It’s a great chip on my shoulder to have and good motivation.”
Mariano has his eyes set on the future, but he’ll take his time with this win.
“I’m excited to see what’s coming up soon with Terry (Lane) and Let’s Get It On Promotions,” he said. “I’m just gonna enjoy this one for a bit. I want to eat something for once.”