Former lightweight world titleholder Jose Pedraza used his superior skills and experience to nullify the pressure of Antonio Lozada in a ninth-round, TKO victory Saturday night on the Masayuki Ito-Jamel Herring junior lightweight title fight at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida.
From the very beginning, Lozada (40-3-1, 34 KOs) kept coming forward and winging punches, and while he did land his share of punches, the harder and more accurate salvos came from Pedraza (26-2, 13 KOs), who as the night wore on began to box more out of the southpaw stance.
As the rounds advanced, Lozada's punches began to lose their steam, and Pedraza's effectiveness off the ropes became more apparent as he adroitly rolled with many of the oncoming punches and effectively counter-punched Lozada.
The fight became more one-sided as Pedraza's body shot began to accumulate. Pedraza, who lost a unanimous decision against unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko last year, started to dominate the fight.
In the ninth round, a laser-like left hand from Pedraza off the ropes sent Lozada to the canvas. After getting back on his feet, he was struck by another barrage of punches that had his corner waving off the fight.
"I became a champion in this division, and I want to become a champion in this division again and in [heavier] divisions, as well," said Pedraza. "Lozada was a tough opponent who came to fight with all of his heart. He was a great test for me, and I passed it with flying colors. I can't wait to see what is next."
This was the first stoppage victory for Pedraza since a TKO victory over Juan Carlos Martinez in 2014.
Koki Eto (25-4-1, 20 KOs) thought he had scored a first-round TKO of the previously undefeated Jeyvier Cintron, a two-time Olympian from Puerto Rico, but he would have to settle for a very unsatisfying "no-contest"; the Florida commission ruled it was a head butt, and not the right hand Eto landed on Cintron, that sent Cintron to the floor.
Cintron (10-1, 5 KOs), a southpaw, was boxing effectively early in the round, beating Eto to the punch as he circled the ring. Suddenly, Eto uncorked a massive overhand right that sent Cintron onto the seat of his pants.
Cintron was able to get up but was wobbly and never quite able to regain his bearings. As he kept stumbling around the ring, referee Andrew Glenn stopped the fight. It was a sudden and dramatic ending to this scheduled 10-round bout.
Unfortunately for Eto, the clash of heads overruled his big punch.
In a back-and-forth fight between two 23-year-old junior featherweights, Adam Lopez (13-1, 6 KOs) dusted himself off the canvas in the second round to stop the hard-hitting Jean Carlos Rivera (15-2, 10 KOs) with a dramatic, Round 7 TKO.
Both Lopez and Rivera landed their share of punches in the middle rounds. After the early knockdown, Lopez, the son of former junior welterweight contender Hector Lopez, stunned Rivera late in the sixth round with a right hand and then followed up with a barrage of punches that had Rivera out on his feet as he laid on the ropes as the bell sounded. Referee Massimo Montanini gave Rivera the mandatory eight-count even though Rivera never touched the canvas. But Rivera was badly buzzed, and the minute in between rounds wasn't enough. Lopez jumped all over him at the beginning of the seventh, forcing the referee to call the fight off.
"I started a bit slow, but I listened to my corner and made adjustments," said Lopez. "I knew he had trouble making weight, so I kept pressing him. I saw my opportunity and took full advantage of it."
Rivera was leading 57-55 on all three cards at the time of the stoppage.
Bantamweight Jose Cardenas (17-4, 14 KOs) shocked local favorite Antonio Vargas (10-1, 4 KOs) with a first-round knockout in a stunning upset. Cardenas, who came into the fight on a two-fight losing streak, gave Vargas trouble from the very beginning with his height and reach. The night ended early for Vargas, as Cardenas hit him on the chin with a picture perfect right hand that sent Vargas to the canvas face first. There really was no need for referee Telis Assimenios to administer the count. The fight was waved off at 1:53.
Highly touted Puerto Rican prospect Henry Lebron (9-0, 7 KOs) didn't have much time to show off his skills, as he scored a first-round TKO of Luis Lizarraga (6-13-1, 2 KOs). After scoring a knockdown early in the round, the corner of Lizarraga waved off the fight at 2:43. Lebron, a left-hander, showed good speed and above-average power in the win.
Edgar Berlanga (11-0, 11 KOs) remained undefeated and kept his streak of first-round knockouts intact by drilling Gyorgy Varju (7-5, 4 KOs) in 43 seconds. Berlanga took care of business early, hitting Varju with a three-punch combination that was punctuated by a left hook as Varju was pinned up along the ropes. It still remains to be seen how Berlanga will do facing stiffer competition, but he carries power in both hands.
It was a one-punch knockout victory for featherweight Marco Diaz (2-0, 2 KOs) who shocked Edgar Figueroa with a pin-point accurate right cross that sent him down and out for the count at :50 seconds of the opening round.
Orlando Gonzalez (11-0, 8 KOs) a featherweight prospect from Puerto Rico, showed he is someone to keep an eye on by stopping Patrick Riley (13-2, 7 KOs) in Round 3 with an impressive display of power. Gonzalez, 23, sent Riley to the canvas in the first round with a right hook and hurt him again in the following round. In the third round, another right hook sent Riley down, and referee Montanini waved off the fight.
Former WBC junior bantamweight champion Carlos Cuadras made his 2019 debut by outpointing Daniel Lozano (15-7, 11 KOs) over eight rounds. Cuadras, who's best known for giving Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada all they could handle the past couple of years, won by the scores of 80-72 (twice) and 79-73.
Steve Nelson (14-0, 11 KOs), a stablemate of WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford, remained undefeated by stopping Victor Darocha in the seventh round of their scheduled eight-round super middleweight contest.