NEW YORK -- Jose Uzcategui felt there was a miscarriage of justice when he was controversially disqualified against Andre Dirrell for a vacant interim super middleweight title last spring, but in the mandated rematch he proved his point.
Uzcategui laid a beating on Dirrell, forcing the fight to be stopped two seconds into the ninth round as he claimed the interim 168 belt in a one-sided fight Saturday night on the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz heavyweight world title undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
"I was a little surprised they stopped it," Uzcategui said. "I had said it would be the third round that I would knock him out. It took a little longer, but it finally came. I think it was very clear in the first fight that I did my job. In the second fight, I showed even more, so there's going to be a lot of Uzcategui from now on. I came here to pressure him. It was either get knocked out or knock him out. I knocked him out."
Uzcategui picked up where he left off in the first fight as he stalked Dirrell from the opening bell. He chased after Dirrell and backed him up before landing solid straight right hands.
Uzcategui appeared to shake up Dirrell at the bell ending the third round when he connected with a hard right hand to the body that wobbled Dirrell.
Uzcategui continued to hammer Dirrell's body in the fourth round and also snapped his head back when he went upstairs with his right hand.
By the fifth round, Dirrell's face was marked up as Uzcategui continued to fire away and land telling right hands to the head.
Uzcategui battered Dirrell for much of the eighth round with little coming back at him. He popped Dirrell with head shots and backed him into the ropes. Dirrell missed with wild punches and ate a left hand in return, and then Uzcategui hammered him with a combination at the end of the round. After extended conversation in Dirrell's corner, the round referee Ricky Gonzalez stopped the fight two seconds into the ninth round and Uzcategui leaped in the air in victory.
"I've been in there with long fighters before, but he was especially long," Dirrell said. "I think I was a little heavier than I wanted to be tonight, but that's no excuse. Uzcategui did a great job. We knew we needed a knockout. The way it was going I needed to at least pick it up. I felt a little sluggish and he hit all the right shots. None of them really hurt, but he hit me where he was supposed to. My family, my team and me will make a decision about what's next, but we'll soon find out."
Uzcategui was ahead on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage, 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75.
There was concern in the minutes leading up to the fight about whether it would take place.
There was an irregularity in Uzcategui's urine, which he provided for a prefight drug test, but the irregularity was not drug related, according to the New York State Athletic Commission. The commission was not sure if he had blood in his urine or not, but the urine was an unexpected color and they spent several minutes trying to figure out if they should allow the fight.
An Uzcategui team member told ESPN in a text message that the commission doctor was balking at allowing Uzcategui to fight because his urine was reddish and a doctor believed it was caused by blood, but the Uzcategui team claims it is from the fighter drinking cranberry juice. After running tests, the commission determined there was no problem and allowed the fight to take place.
When Dirrell (26-3, 16 KOs), a 34-year-old southpaw from Flint, Michigan, and Uzcategui (27-2, 23 KOs), 27, a Venezuela native based in Mexico, met on May 20 in Oxon Hill, Maryland, for the vacant interim belt, they put on an excellent fight that ended shockingly, with Uzcategui nailing Dirrell with a three-punch combination in which the final shot landed while the bell was still ringing to end the eighth round.
Dirrell went down hard, face first. Referee Bill Clancy ruled that the final punch landed after the bell and that Dirrell was unable to continue, and he controversially disqualified Uzcategui, who was ahead on two scorecards 77-74 and 77-75 with the third scorecard 76-76.
It was what happened a few minutes after the end of the first bout that was even more shocking, as Leon Lawson Jr., Dirrell's trainer and uncle, viciously assaulted Uzcategui by sucker punching him in the face as he stood in his corner minding his business.
Lawson was later arrested and faces a trial on a second-degree assault charge in Maryland's Prince George's County in April, following multiple postponements. Lawson is barred from working Dirrell's corner because he was suspended indefinitely by the Maryland State Athletic Commission, as well as by various sanctioning organizations, for the unprovoked attack. That left Dirrell to hire Virgil Hunter to train him for the rematch, which was ordered by the IBF.
Now it's mandatory for Uzcategui to fight the winner of the spring rematch between titlist Caleb Truax and James DeGale.
"First I want to fight for the IBF title. Then I want to fight [WBC titlist] David Benavidez," Uzcategui said. "We're good friends, but I want to fight him."
Derevyanchenko stops Johnson
Brooklyn-based middleweight contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs), 30, a mandatory challenger for one of the world titles held by unified champion Gennady Golovkin, stayed busy with a one-sided victory over journeyman Dashon Johnson (22-23-3, 7 KOs).
Derevyanchenko laid a beating on the usually durable Johnson until Johnson's corner threw in the towel after the sixth round of their scheduled eight-rounder.
"Every time he came in and punched, his body was open. That gave me opportunities to go for the knockout," Derevyanchenko said. "I'm ready for Golovkin, Canelo [Alvarez] or even Jermall Charlo. I'm ready for anybody. I don't care who it is, but I want to fight the best and win a world title. I'll fight the best as soon as I can. I am ready for the elite fighters at middleweight. I'm tired of waiting."
Derevyanchenko, a 2008 Ukrainian Olympian, was initially scheduled to fight Johnson on Jan. 20 at Barclays Center on the Errol Spence Jr.-Lamont Peterson undercard, but the fight was postponed because Derevyanchenko came down with a fever and flu-like symptoms a week before the fight.
Johnson, 30, of Escondido, California, doesn't have an impressive record, but it was only the fourth time in his nearly two dozen losses that he has been stopped.
"I thought that it should have been stopped a round earlier," said Andre Rozier, Derevyanchenko's trainer. "It was just unnecessary punishment. True to The Technician's style, it was a continuous and consummate explosion of concussive power."
Napoleon wins women's world title
Alicia Napoleon (9-1, 5 KOs), 32, from New York's Long Island, laid a beating on tough Femke Hermans (6-1, 3 KOs), 28, of Belgium, to win a lopsided unanimous decision and a vacant women's super middleweight world title. Napoleon won 99-91, 98-92 and 98-92 in a fight she dominated from start to finish. She pounded Femke round after round and came close to knocking her down a few times.
Napoleon was particularly effective with her body attack that had Hermans breathing hard late in the fight. "It's hard to find words to describe this right now. It's so surreal it's almost like a dream," Napoleon said. "I'm just glad I did it. This is one down, but there's many more [world titles] to go. The goal is to get them all.
"I think this means a lot for women's boxing, not just that I won the belt, but where I was placed on this great card. People are going to continue to see and hear more and more from women boxers."
Also on the undercard:
Washington, D.C., junior welterweight prospect Gary Antuanne Russell (4-0, 4 KOs), the 21-year-old 2016 U.S. Olympian and the younger brother of featherweight world titlist Gary Russell Jr., scored a second-round stoppage of Keasen Freeman (4-1, 2 KOs), of Aiken, South Carolina. Russell scored three knockdowns, forcing him to take a knee twice in the first round and another in the third round, after which referee Shada Murdaugh stopped the fight at 1 minute, 16 seconds.
Brooklyn welterweight Richardson Hitchins (4-0, 2 KO), 20, a 2016 Haitian Olympian promoted by Floyd Mayweather, knocked out Charles Stanford (2-3, 0 KOs), 31, of Cincinnati, at 2 minutes, 15 seconds of the second round.
In a hard-hitting, physical fight, junior middleweights Patrick Day (15-2-1, 6 KOs), 25, of Freeport, New York, pounded out a unanimous decision against Kyrone Davis (13-2, 5 KOs), 23, of Wilmington, Delaware. The judges had it 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94.