Fresh off his sensational stoppage of previously undefeated Jose “Mexican Diablo” Rodriguez, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez is riding the fast track to stardom on an exciting journey that’s just really started.
In the June 17th “KO Night Boxing: Rapid Fire” main event, which aired live on CBS Sports Network from Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas, Hernandez improved his record to 2-0 (2 KOs), dropping Rodriguez three times and closing the show in the third round..
The 21-year-old Hernandez, fighting out of Wichita, is already proving to be a better professional boxer that he was an amateur, despite all his accomplishments and achievements in the non-paying ranks, firing effective combinations from a wide variety of angles, including punishing body shots and devastating, powerful punches to his opponent’s head.
Because Hernandez fights in the featherweight division, which is void of overwhelming talent and lacks top-notch Americans, along with his amateur pedigree and experience fighting boxers with different styles, Hernandez can likely crack the world ratings this year, possibily getting a world title shot in 2018.
“I did my thing tonight,” Hernandez said after his June 17th fight. “I’ve fought the best at the Olympics, so I wasn’t worried about what he (Rodriguez) he did. This fight was a little personal because he’d said he was knocking me out. I got tired of him and went into the ring trying to take him out. We can be friends now.
“I just need to stay on path and I will. I’ve been on the top since I started boxing when I was nine. I want to do what other Olympians like (Andre) Ward and (Vasyl) Lomanchenko have done…become world champion!”
The highest-rated flyweight in the world today is 36-year-old Brian Viloria (37-5, 22 KOs), the 4-time, 2-division world champion and 2000 U.S. Olympian. Considering his advanced age for a boxer, the “Hawaian Punch” will probably be retired by the time Hernandez is ready for a world title shot, leaving Oscar Cantu and Miguel Cartagena as the only American featherweights currently rated among the top 25 in the world.
“Nico was great in his last fight and everybody is seeing what we want to do with him,” Hernadez’ promoter John Andersen (KO Night Boxing) noted. “We need to step up the competition for him in his next fight, which will probably be his last six-round bout. Our plan is one more six and then an eight-rounder for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) International Youth featherweight title. But Nico has options because he can easily drop down to junior flyweight or move up to super flyweight. We’ll take things fight-by-fight with him with an eye on the immediate future for a world title fight.”
The featherweight division, right now, is led by a pair of stars, Kazuto Ioka, of Japan, and Filipino Donnie Nietes. The future of lower weight-classes may very well belong to Nico Hernandez.