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Latino Pride Continued In Ring Saturday Evening At Different Venues

Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

Philadelphia: Saturday evening at two different venues, boxing and Latino dominance was highlighted with a new champion, a lightweight from Puerto Rico, and a light heavyweight back in the title mix.

Jeison Rosario captured the WBA and IBF Super Welterweight World titles with a shocking fifth round stoppage of hometown favorite Julian “J-Rock” Williams Saturday night in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.

“As soon as I stepped into the ring, I knew he could not hurt me,” said Rosario. “I knew that my power was affecting him right away. This is a big victory for me and for the whole Dominican Republic.”

“Rosario was the better man tonight,” said Williams. “It was a great homecoming for my fans and I’m sorry I let them down. What went wrong tonight needs to and will be fixed. We’re going to an immediate rematch and we look forward to returning the favor.”

In his first world title fight, the Dominican Republic’s Rosario landed power punches from the outset and opened up a cut on with a punch over Williams’ right eye in the second round. Williams was landing power punches of his own, but was unable to stop Rosario from coming forward.

“I’m so emotional in this moment right now,” said Rosario. “When I lost my last fight I said I will never lose again until I become champion of the world and that’s what happened tonight. I came prepared. I knew before the fight that I was going to win it.”

In round five Rosario landed the punches that would ultimately lead to the end of the fight, hitting him with hard straight right hands that immediately slowed Williams.

“I have to give a lot of credit to my team,” said Rosario. “I had a 16-week training camp and that prepared me for this. My life is changed forever and I can support my family in a whole new way. I realized that I was going to win, once I was offered the fight. I knew that if I made the sacrifice, that I would do what I did tonight. I knew it 16 weeks ago.”

Rosario sensed his moment and came forward with big punches, while Williams tried to hold and survive. Eventually the onslaught proved to be too much, and referee Benjy Esteves halted the bout 1:37 into the round. At the time of the stoppage, Rosario led 39-37 on two cards, with the third card scored 38-38.

“I wasn’t surprised he was so good,” said Williams. “I told everybody he’s a real fighter. I have to accept it. The cut blurred my vision a little bit but it wasn’t the reason why I lost. He was the better fighter tonight. We’ve got a rematch clause. I’ll see him again soon. I’ll be back.”

Former world champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez returned from a nearly one-year layoff to knock out Michael “Cannon Handz” Seals with a single overhand right at the end of the seventh round Saturday evening at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY and televised on the ESPN Top Rank boxing card.

Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) is back following a disappointing decision defeat to Sergey Kovalev last February, the man he knocked out to win the WBO light heavyweight world title. Seals (24-3, 18 KOs), one of boxing’s biggest punchers, saw his four-bout winning streak come to an end.

“During training camp, we practiced {the right hand} over and over. My trainer was mad at me at first because I wasn’t doing what he was asking. Finally, we got the knockout,” Alvarez said. “I was out of the ring for 11 months. I wanted to come back as the fighter that beat Kovalev, and this is what we practiced for.”

Verdejo Back in Lightweight Mix

Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo 2.0 is off to a smooth start. Verdejo (26-1, 16 KOs), in his first fight since linking up with noted trainer Ismael Salas, outboxed Manuel Rey Rojas (18-4, 5 KOs) over 10 rounds in the lightweight co-feature by scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.

Verdejo, native of San Juan, Puerto Rico has now won three in a row since the lone defeat of his career and, at 26 years old, is entering what should be his physical prime.

“I give myself a ‘C.’ I want to keep working hard and keep developing because I want to look like an ‘A’ fighter,” Verdejo said. “I have the desire. I have the hunger. I’m going to keep working hard for all the Puerto Ricans and all the Boricuas.”

Definitely a weekend of champions for fighters of Latino descent.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com

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