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Home » Xander Zayas dominates ex-world chamoion for 19-0

Xander Zayas dominates ex-world chamoion for 19-0

Junior middleweight contender Xander Zayas entered the ring to the adoring screams of the Puerto Rican faithful. And the latest phenomenon from the island nation stepped up in his main event debut.

Zayas dominated former world champion Patrick Teixeira (34-5, 25 KOs) via a 10-round unanimous decision Saturday evening at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. The scores — 100-90 2x and 99-91 — were representative of the one-way traffic.

Teixeira, who last held the WBO junior middleweight crown in 2021, entered the fight having won three straight. His championship experience, however, was no match for the 21-year-old San Juan native.

Zayas said, “Thank you to all my people in Puerto Rico. Since I was five years old, I dreamed about this. It’s happening, thanks to you guys, and I want to thank you for everything you do for me.

“He was tough. He knew how to survive in there. It was sometimes difficult to find the body, but with the experience, he hid it. I tried to land the hook, and he was ducking underneath. I feel like it was a tough test, but I passed it with flying colors.”

Zayas (19-0, 12 KOs) kept his foot on the pedal from the opening bell and kept hammering away at the head and body. By the eighth round, Teixeira was on the back foot, staring at the clock and doing whatever he could to slow down the Zayas onslaught. Zayas clipped Teixeira with a right hand in the ninth round, which opened up a cut. In the 10th, he went all out for the knockout, but the dramatic finish did not come. He won and will now move on to more significant opportunities. Nineteen years ago, Miguel Cotto headlined Madison Square Garden’s first Puerto Rican Day Parade Eve card. Zayas is the next in line.


Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington, the Brownsville-born featherweight contender, made it “Shu York City” again. Carrington (12-0, 8 KOs) battered and then stopped Panamanian power puncher Brayan De Gracia (29-4-1, 25 KOs) in the eighth round.

De Gracia got the assignment on less than a week’s notice but had been in training camp for more than six weeks. He proved to be a tough riddle in the early rounds, but Carrington slowly but surely found his groove. In the fifth, a cuffing right hand to the ear dropped De Gracia, and it was only a matter of time. A right sent De Gracia down and nearly through the ropes in the seventh. With De Gracia in full retreat mode in the eighth, Carrington poured on the punishment until Eric Dali waved it off.

“There are some things I could’ve done more. There are some things I could’ve done better on the defensive end. He’s a tough opponent, and I’m super happy that Brayan came in and took the fight on last-minute notice,” Carrington said. “He came to fight. He’s really strong. His knockout ratio shows the power is there, but you know me, I have a lot of experience and know how to get around that, break my opponent down, and do what I do. And that’s how we got the victory.”


Junior Welterweight: U.S. Olympian Tiger Johnson (13-0, 6 KOs), the latest hopeful from Cleveland, Ohio, rolled to an eight-round unanimous decision over the cagey Tarik Zaina (13-2-1, 8 KOs). Johnson outlanded Zaina, 143-68, and prevailed by margins of 79-73, 78-74, and 77-75.

Flyweight: Rising prospect Andy Dominguez (11-1, 6 KOs) got back in the win column with an eight-round majority decision over Cristopher Rios (10-2, 7 KOs), rebounding from a February defeat. Scores: 76-76, 77-75 and 78-74.

Middleweight: Long Island native Jahi Tucker (11-1-1, 5 KOs) did everything but score the knockout, grinding down battle-tested veteran Quincy LaVallais (17-5-1, 12 KOs) over eight rounds in his middleweight debut. Scores: 80-72 3x.

Heavyweight: Ali Feliz (2-0, 2 KOs), a 2022 U.S. National Amateur champion, shined in professional fight number two, blasting out Lemir Isom-Riley (4-3, 2 KOs) at 1:25 of the opening round. Feliz knocked down Isom-Riley with a straight right and finished things with a rapid-fire combination that forced referee Eddie Claudio to step in.

Junior Lightweight: Ofacio Falcon (12-0, 6 KOs) UD 6 Antonio Dunton El Jr. (5-3-2, 2 KOs), Score: 60-53 2x and 59-54.

Super Middleweight: Nisa Rodriguez (2-0) UD 4 Jordanne Garcia (4-4-3), Scores: 40-36 3x.