Puerto Rican lightweight contender Felix Verdejo continued his career renaissance under trainer Ismael Salas with a one-round dismissal of previously unbeaten Will Madera at ‘The Bubble’ in the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, on Thursday night.
Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) was once one of the most touted talents in the game before a shock 10th round loss to Antonio Lozada in March 2018, but he has since rebuilt with four straight wins and is now eyeing amateur rival Vasiliy Lomachenko who defeated him in the London 2012 Olympics.
“I am proud of the work I put in with my trainer, Ismael Salas. The hard work is paying off,” said Verdejo. “Madera is a good fighter, but when I had him hurt, I knew I could finish him.
“As for what’s next, Vasiliy Lomachenko is the top guy at lightweight. We have unfinished business from when he beat me in the Olympics. That’s the fight I ultimately want.”
Verdejo made light work of Madera (15-1-3, 8 KOs), pegging the New Yorker on the ropes after stunning him with a right uppercut that wobbled his legs. After Verdejo unleashed a left uppercut and right hand, Madera crashed to the canvas where referee Robert Hoyle called a halt to proceedings at 2.59 of the opening round.
On the undercard, heavyweight hope Jared ‘The Real Big Baby’ Anderson (5-0, 5 KOs) halted Hector Perez (7-3, 3 KOs) with a right hand in the opening round, his fourth first round stoppage to date.
“That was too quick! I got him out of there and implemented what I’ve been working on in the gym,” said Anderson. “I want to return as soon as possible. I leave that in the hands of my promoter, but when they give me a date, I’ll be ready. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me. Any of these guys who have fought in the ‘Bubble’, I’ll fight them.”
In other action, featherweight prospect Martino Jules (10-0, 2 KOs) outpointed Aleem Jumakhonov (8-3-2, 4 KOs) via majority decision. Scores were 78-74 (twice) and 76-76.
Lightweight Kenny Davis Jr. (3-2-1, 0 KOs) edged Eduardo Sanchez (2-3, 0 KOs) by majority decision 38-36 (twice) and 37-37. Sanchez was dropped by a body shot in the third while Davis had a point deducted one round later for spitting out his mouthpiece.