Oscar Valdez was not interested in a distance fight. The former featherweight world champion, in his second fight as a junior lightweight, knocked out Jayson Velez (29-7-1, 21 KOs) with 37 seconds remaining in the 10th and final round.
The bout took place Thursday evening at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.
Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) knocked down Velez in the fifth round and twice more in the 10th before the referee called it off. A former world title challenger, this was the first KO defeat of Velez’s career.
Valdez, the WBC No. 1 contender at 130 pounds, now has his sights set on countryman and longtime champion Miguel Berchelt.
“Miguel Berchelt is the fight I want. He has the WBC title at 130 pounds. I want the WBC title. Miguel and I would make for a great fight,” Valdez said.
“Velez was everything I expected, a tough warrior who fought his heart out. I commend him for a great performance and a great fight.”
Also on the night, ESPY winner Kim Clavel (12-0, 2 KOs) was victorious in her ESPN debut, as she defeated the previously undefeated Natalie Gonzalez (6-1, 1 KO) by unanimous decision (80-72 3x) in a light flyweight bout.
Clavel made a triumphant return to the ring, as she worked as a nurse in Montreal elder care facilities on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.
Her contributions earned her the 2020 Pat Tillman Award for Service last month at the ESPYs.
“I knew it would be a hard fight because she’s a good fighter. She had a good amateur background,” Clavel said.
“This was my first time here. I had some pressure, but with every round, I felt better and better in the ring with my coach.
“We won all the rounds. This is what we wanted.
“I would love to stay active and fight again before the end of 2020. I want to be the best in the light flyweight division.”
Junior welterweight prospect Elvis “The Dominican Kid” Rodriguez (8-0-1, 8 KOs) notched his second “Bubble” knockout in 19 days, icing Dennis Okoth (4-4-1, 2 KOs) with a single left cross in the second round.
Rodriguez has won six straight by knockout since a technical draw in his third pro fight.