HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Lomachenko and Verdejo Shine with Stunning Knockout Victories
By: William Holmes
The Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City has long been a venue to showcase upcoming boxers that are on the cusp of stardom.
Tonight was no different as Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo and two time Olympic Gold Medalist Vasyl Lomachenko competed in two separate fights on the HBO televised portion of the card.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
The annual Puerto Rican Parade was held today and as is customary for Top Rank Promotions, they promoted a card that featured several fighters of Puerto Rican decent. Zou Shiming, Christopher Diaz, and Julian Rodriguez highlighted the undercard with easy wins against over matched opponents.
The first televised bout of the night was between Felix Verdejo (21-0) and Juan Jose Martinez (25-2) for the WBO Latino Lightweight Championship.
Verdejo, as expected, had most of the fans in attendance supporting him and was greeted warmly by the crowd.
Verdejo was sharp with his jab in the first round and the crowd was boisterous in their support of him. Both boxers showed good upper body movement in the first round, but Verdejo had the quicker hands and was able to move Martinez when he landed his jab.
Martinez was pushing forward in the second round, but was unable to get inside and land any effective punches. Verdejo was beginning to throw more combinations in the second round with moderate success.
Verdejo looked very sharp in the third round and was able to land some hard counter right hands. He was also able to open up a cut by the right eye of Martinez. Verdejo focused more to the body in the fourth round and
was able to out maneuver his opponent.
Verdejo employed his lead left hook as a counter in the fifth round to keep Martinez at bay. He badly hurt Martinez with a combination that ended with a right cross that sent him stumbling back towards the ropes. He unleashed a flurry of punches on Martinez, who did not throw any punches back, and forced the referee to jump in and stop it.
Felix Verdejo remained undefeated with a TKO stoppage win at 2:40 of the fifth round.
A touching tribute to Muhammad Ali was shown in between the end of the co-main event of the beginning of the main event, and it brought the crowd to it’s feet.
The main event of the night was between Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-2) and Vasyl Lomachenko (5-1) for the WBO Junior Lightweight Championship.
Lomachenko was the favorite entering the bout and the crowd was evenly split between supporters of Lomachenko and supporters of Martinez. The theatre was extremely loud during the fighter introductions.
Lomachenko, a southpaw, was pressing the action in the opening round and was able to sneak in a few straight left hands. He was showing good head movement and Martinez was fighting while moving backwards in the opening round.
Martinez was able to land some good body shots and straight right hands in the second round, but Lomachenko’s amazing footwork was on full display in the second round as he was able to land combinations and quickly circle out of danger before Martinez could counter effectively.
Lomachenko’s superior footwork enabled him to land hard straight left hands and uppercuts in the third round, and he finished the round with a crisp straight left to the face of Martinez. Lomachenko’s dominance continued in the fourth round, except for this time his straight left hands were snapping the head of Martinez backwards.
Martinez pressed the action in the fifth round but Lomachenko made him pay dearly with a hard right hook that sent him to the mat and knocked him out.
Vasyl Lomachenko put on an amazing performance with a knockout at 1:09 of the fifth round.
Undercard Quick Results:
Juan Carlos Rivera (7-0) wins by TKO at 0:49 of the sixth round over Heriberto Delgado (11-5-1) in the featherweight division.
Michael Reed (19-0) defeated Abraham Cordero (13-3-1) in the super lightweight division by TKO at 2:29 of the sixth round.
Julian Rodriguez (13-0) defeated Adam Mate (18-10) in the welterweight division by first round TKO at 2:27.
Christopher Diaz (17-0) defeated Neftali Campos (11-2) by TKO in the featherweight division at 2:33 of the eighth round.
Jose Gonzalez (3-0-1) fought to a majority draw with Sean Acosta (0-2-1) by scores of 39-37 Gonzalez, 38-38 on the other two cards.
Zou Shiming (8-1) defeated Jozsef Ajtai (15-3) by decision with scores of 100-89 on all three scorecards for the WBO International Flyweight Championship.