SAN DIEGO, Calif., July 17, 2020 – Thursday’s fight card broadcast from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas started with color commentator and former world champion Timothy Bradley Jr. taunting the disgraced Mark Yap for missing weight by eight pounds with a Frankenweenie burrito (hot dogs wrapped in a tortilla) and ended with a sensational knockout win for newly minted vegan Felix Verdejo of Puerto Rico.
Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) returned to the form fans remember from his early professional career as a flashy knockout puncher with the victory over an overwhelmed Will Madera of Albany, New York (15-1-3, 8 KOs), suffering his first loss. In the final seconds of the round, Verdejo grazed Madera with a hard uppercut, then sealed the stoppage with a wicked right to the head. Madera attempted to get up, but the referee waived off the fight at 2:59 of the round.
“I took my time, I really came out here settled,’ said Verdejo. “I wanted to measure what he came out with little by little, but once I did I let my hands go, but with control, and the knockout came.”
Verdejo said he made weight with ease, another key to his restored form. “I used to have acid reflux. I would eat poorly. But I listened to Timothy Bradley, and went vegan. It helped me keep my weight down and stay balanced.”
Verdejo said he will stay ready for another fight soon. “Felix Verdejo is back,” he declared. “I’m ready to fight against the best and that’s my message to all of them: be ready.” Verdejo said he would love to avenge his loss in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympic Games, where Vasily Lomachenko won the gold medal. “The top guy at 130 pounds is Vasily Lomachenko. We have unfinished business. I want to get revenge for what happened in the Olympics,” said Verdejo.
While it would be ridiculous to declare Verdejo “back” based on three minutes of work, it’s a hopeful sign he has finally overcome his stalled period. It makes for a lot of anticipation toward seeing Verdejo again soon, and it’s been a long time since anyone could say this with a straight face.
Jared Anderson ends his night quickly with first-round KO
In his second appearance in The Bubble, heavyweight Jared Anderson of Toledo (5-0, 5 KOs) will keep the fan buzz humming after a first-round knockout of Hector Perez of Florida (7-3, 3 KOs). The quick end came at 1:45 of the round courtesy of a series including a left hook, jab and a vicious right hook behind the head of Perez, snapping his head around. There was little expectation he’d be able to get up.
With the meager amount of boxing action to enjoy this summer it’s hard to slow roll the enthusiasm for Anderson. The 20-year-old said he’s enjoying the experience, including the three rounds he fought on the first card back on June 9. “It was great, I got a little more experience. I’m happy to get a few more rounds to prepare me for later rounds,” said Anderson. What are his ultimate ambitions at this early stage? “Anybody who’s good, Olympians, former world champions, challengers, anyone who I can get really!” said Anderson. That covers it.
Martino Jules and Kenny Davis Jr., win on abbreviated undercard
Martino Jules of Allentown, Pennsylvania (10-0, 2 KOs) and Aleem Jumakhonov of Tajikistan (8-3-2, 4 KOs) went the distance in their eight-round featherweight bout. Scores were 78-74 X 2 and 76-76. Jules put in a solid performance against a determined opponent who gave him significant resistance. These are the type of bouts which add a lot of value to a talented young prospect’s career.
In the opening bout, lightweight Kenny Davis Jr. of Reno (3-2-1) defeated Eduardo Sanchez of Corcoran, California (2-3) in a four-round lightweight bout. Davis Jr. knocked down Sanchez in the first round, and made it stick. Scores were 38-36 X 2, and 37-37.
ESPN will return on Tuesday night with another card from the MGM Grand featuring Oscar Valdez versus Jayson Velez, the return of Issac Dogboe, and a second appearance in The Bubble by knockout artist Edgar Berlanga.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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