New York: Felix Verdejo was on his way to a championship and a successor to Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto as the next boxing superstar from Puerto Rico. He had some setbacks including an almost career threatening motorcycle accident two years ago in Puerto Rico.
Thursday night in Las Vegas, at the MGM Grand ballroom, in the COVID Bubble, the Top Rank fighter scored an impressive first round knockout that propelled him into the title mix at 135. The Puerto Rican star knocked out the previously undefeated “Ill” Will Madera in the opening round of a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout.
Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) pinned Madera (15-1-3, 8 KOs) to the ropes and unloaded with a series of power shots. Madera slumped to the canvas, and referee Robert Hoyle called off the bout at 2:59 of the first round.
Verdejo, who represented the island nation at the 2012 Olympics, has now won four straight bouts and is in the thick of the lightweight title picture.
“I am proud of the work I put in with my trainer, Ismael Salas. The hard work is paying off,” Verdejo said. “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.”
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