Oscar Valdez was not interested in a distance fight. The former featherweight world champion, in his second fight as a junior lightweight, knocked out Jayson Velez (29-7-1, 21 KOs) with 37 seconds remaining in the 10th and final round Thursday evening at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.
Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) knocked down Velez in the fifth round and twice more in the 10th before the referee called it off. A former world title challenger, this was the first KO defeat of Velez’s career.
Valdez, the WBC No. 1 contender at 130 pounds, now has his sights set on countryman and longtime champion Miguel Berchelt.
“Miguel Berchelt is the fight I want. He has the WBC title at 130 pounds. I want the WBC title. Miguel and I would make for a great fight,” Valdez said. “Velez was everything I expected, a tough warrior who fought his heart out. I commend him for a great performance and a great fight.”
— Oops, he did it again. Super middleweight destroyer Edgar Berlanga (14-0, 14 KOs) scored his 14th consecutive first-round knockout, obliterating the usually durable Eric Moon (11-3, 6 KOs) in 62 seconds. A pair of overhand rights sent a dazed Moon to the canvas, and referee Kenny Bayless had seen enough.
“It was another step-up fight for me. We prepared to go rounds, but I got him hurt and got him out of there,” Berlanga said. “I still have so much room to grow as a fighter. The power is there, but I will show everyone that I am a well-rounded fighter. The knockout streak is cool, but there is more to me than first-round knockouts.”
— The Isaac Dogboe comeback is in motion. The former WBO junior featherweight world champion, coming off back-to-back defeats to Emanuel Navarrete, dominated Chris Avalos via eighth-round TKO in a statement-making performance at featherweight. Dogboe (21-2, 15 KOs) had not fought in more than a year, but he shook off the ring rust in short order, using a steady body attack to break down the two-time world title challenger.
“I was off for 14 months. This was a long time coming. I felt great with my new trainer, Barry Hunter. We’re only getting warmed up,” Dogboe said. “I wanted to show everyone that Isaac Dogboe never went away. I’m still here, and I am only getting better.”
— ESPY winner Kim Clavel (12-0, 2 KOs) was victorious in her ESPN debut, as she defeated the previously undefeated Natalie Gonzalez (6-1, 1 KO) by unanimous decision (80-72 3x) in a light flyweight bout. Clavel made a triumphant return to the ring, as she worked as a nurse in Montreal elder care facilities on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. Her contributions earned her the 2020 Pat Tillman Award for Service last month at the ESPYs.
“I knew it would be a hard fight because she’s a good fighter. She had a good amateur background,” Clavel said. “This was my first time here. I had some pressure, but with every round, I felt better and better in the ring with my coach. We won all the rounds. This is what we wanted.
“I would love to stay active and fight again before the end of 2020. I want to be the best in the light flyweight division.”
— Junior welterweight prospect Elvis “The Dominican Kid” Rodriguez (8-0-1, 8 KOs) notched his second “Bubble” knockout in 19 days, icing Dennis Okoth (4-4-1, 2 KOs) with a single left cross in the second round. Rodriguez has won six straight by knockout since a technical draw in his third pro fight.
Photo credit:Mikey Williams/Top Rank