Bruce Boyington returned home from Saturday night’s Cage FX lightweight title fight with a broken right hand.
Fortunately for the Brewer resident and mixed martial arts practitioner from Young’s MMA in Bangor, he still could use his healthy hand to carry the championship belt he won after scoring a unanimous-decision victory over Ruslan Khubejashvili of Norwood, Mass., in the main event of “CFX 24: Unfiltered” at the sold-out Dorchester (Mass.) Armory.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said the 34-year-old Boyington, now 6-7 in the professional MMA ranks. “I’ve been trying to get a belt around my waist for quite a while.
“But the best thing about it is how good I felt going into the fight and how good I felt in the cage,” he added. “It let me know what kind of fighter I’m becoming.”
Boyington won all three rounds on the judges’ cards, using his takedown defense to prevent the Russian-born Khubejashvili from waging the bout on the ground. He also relied on his striking game early and kicking ability later in the match to keep his previously undefeated opponent off stride.
“He was throwing some heavy stuff,” said Boyington, “but I was able to control the pace and distance and keep him at bay.”
Boyington’s momentum was threatened early in the second round.
“I hit him, and I knew [the hand] was broken,” he said. “But with the adrenaline working the way it was, it didn’t feel bad except when I hit him with it. I used it some in the second round, but the third round was all about trying not to use it.”
Boyington, perhaps best known for his explosive kicking tactics, resorted more to that strategy later in the bout to keep Khubejashvili at a distance.
“Once I broke my hand, I used my legs a lot more whether it was spinning back kicks, side kicks or front kicks,” he said. “I think that made him skeptical about coming in.”
Khubejashvili (2-1) was a late replacement for Bellator MMA veteran Saul “The Spider” Almeida (14-5) of Framingham, Mass., who pulled out of the bout for health issues.
Boyington plans to consult with a surgeon this week to determine the best course of action to repair his injured right hand, but he said he expects to be sidelined for at least two months before returning to action, likely on a New England Fights card in Maine or perhaps defending his Cage FX 155-pound crown.
Boyington was one of several Maine fighters on the 17-bout Cage FX card.
Nash Roy of Carmel and Young’s MMA improved his amateur record to 2-0 with a first-round technical knockout of Bobby Buker on their middleweight (185-pound) bout, while another Young’s fighter, amateur heavyweight Bill Leahy, lost his debut by unanimous decision to Rob Brown of Providence, R.I.
Andrew Tripp of North Waterboro and Team Irish MMA Fitness Academy, suffered a first-round loss by rear naked choke to Jeff Hsu of Quincy, Mass., in a battle of undefeated amateur welterweights (170 pounds). Tripp is 6-1, while Hsu is 4-0.
And another amateur fighting under the Team Irish umbrella, Nick Spencer of Portland, fell to 4-4 after losing by a first-round armbar to Chris Caterino (4-2) of Nashua, N.H., in a clash of bantamweights (135 pounds).