Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) did what nobody else has come close to doing, knocking out former two-time European champion Edis Tatli (31-3, 10 KOs) with a right hand to the body in the fifth round to defend his NABF lightweight belt.
Lopez, the consensus 2018 Prospect of the Year, is a contender now and is angling for a world title opportunity.
“I didn’t have the best camp. But I did what I needed to do and came out victorious,” Lopez said. “I knew I was going to get him with a body shot, so I softened him up and finished him.
“I want a world title shot next. That’s what I want. We promised to take over the show. Once again, I took it over.”
Featherweight Shakur Stevenson put forth the best performance of his young career, befuddling and outboxing former world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz over 10 one-sided rounds (100-90, 99-91 and 98-92).
Stevenson, a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, saw his two-fight knockout streak come to an end. But Diaz (24-2, 16 KOs) represented the toughest test of his career.
At no point did Diaz threaten Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs), whose southpaw movement was too much for the Puerto Rican pressure fighter.
“I take nothing away from Christopher Diaz,” Stevenson said. “He’s a great fighter, but I came in there to outbox him, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Felix Verdejo (25-1, 16 KOs), the one-time top prospect, moved closer to lightweight contender status with a 10-round unanimous decision over Bryan Vasquez (37-4, 20 KOs) on the opening bout of the pay-per-view telecast.
Verdejo has now won two in a row since a shocking knockout loss last March at the hands of Antonio Lozada Jr.
Verdejo controlled the fight with his jab, as Vasquez attempted to bully the taller man on the inside. But in the end, it was Verdejo who prevailed by scores of 97-93 2X and 98-92.
“It was an honor for me to get a big victory in front of my fans at Madison Square Garden. I defeated a great fighter in Vasquez. I worked hard for this fight. The jab and body punches were key.”
Carlos Adames (17-0, 14 KOs) moved one step closer to a 154-pound world title shot, stopping Frank “Notorious” Galarza (20-3-2, 12 KOs) in the fourth round of a scheduled 10-rounder. Adames floored Galarza with a left hook early in the fourth and unloaded on him until Benjy Esteves stepped in to halt the carnage.
“This was a message to all of the 154-pounders,” Adames said. “I want to face all the best. I’m coming hungry, and I’m determined to fight for a world title by the end of the year. I don’t care who has a title. I want it.”
Edgar Berlanga (10-0, 10 KOs) still hasn’t seen the second round as a pro, knocking out Samir dos Santos at 46 seconds of the opening round. The Brooklyn-born Berlanga pinned Dos Santos (37-16-3, 26 KOs) and unloaded until the referee stopped the fight. Berlanga is scheduled to return May 25 in Kissimmee, Florida.
“I know this will open up a lot of opportunities for me,” Berlanga said. “I want to make my people from Brooklyn and Puerto Rico proud.”
Two-time Olympian Vikas “The Indian Tank” Krishan (2-0, 1 KO) overcame a stiff challenge from Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2 KOs) to win a six-round unanimous decision (60-54 2X, 59-55) in a super welterweight contest.
“Lethal” Larry Fryers (10-1 3KOs) cruised to a shutout unanimous decision over Dakota Polley (5-3, 2 KOs) in a six-round super lightweight fight.
Bantamweight prospect Lawrence “BT” Newton (12-0, 7 KOs) got the card started with a six-round unanimous decision over the game Jonathan Garza (7-3, 2 KOs) by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 2X.