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Results:

Pedraza shines in TKO victory over Rodriguez

Jose Pedraza was at his best Saturday picking apart Julian Rodriguez to earn an eighth round TKO victory.

Rodriguez’s corner told the referee they couldn’t continue as his left eye was swollen shut and his right eye wasn’t far behind it. The 32-year-old Pedraza (29-3, 14 KOs), of Cidra, Puerto Rico, was the better fighter all night using his veteran experience to outbox Rodriguez.

“My experience was too much for him,” Pedraza said. “I was hungrier than him, and he was just another obstacle in my journey to become a three-division world champion. That is my goal.”

It was well-matched fight with a contrast in styles. Rodriguez (21-1, 14 KOs) sought to use his speed and power to throw Pedraza off his game, but he could never hurt him. Pedraza used precision punching, his intelligence, movement and jab to land effectively and dictate the pace. Pedraza said he felt Rodriguez weakening as the fight went on.

It was a close fight going into the eighth round — all three judges had it 77-75 Pedraza — but ultimately Pedraza’s constant connections to Rodriguez’s eyes that frustrated the 26-year-old out of Bergen County, New Jersey and eventually ended his night early.

Undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor holds all the cards in the division with everyone awaiting to see if he will remain there to defend his belt or move up to welterweight seeking a matchup with Terence “Bud” Crawford.

“I want all the big names at 140 pounds. With this performance, I sent a message to those big names,” Pedraza said. “The ‘Sniper’ is on the hunt. I want to make history for Puerto Rico.”

Regardless of whether stays at 140 or not, Pedraza’s win Saturday moved his name up the list of contenders worthy of a title opportunity.


Rojas upsets McCreary

Manuel Rey Rojas scored the first significant upset of the night, dominating Tyler McCreary and scoring a unanimous decision win after eight rounds of action. It was a very poor performance for the 28-year-old McCreary (16-2-1, 7 KOs) out of Toledo, Ohio. He was fighting for the first time in 19 months, and it looked like it.

The story here is McCreary’s sudden fall from grace. He was considered to be a hot boxing prospect just a few years ago, but he got dominated by Carl Frampton in November 2019. and McCreary hasn’t been the same fighter. He looked slow and ineffective for much of Saturday’s fight.

It’s a major win for Rojas (21-5, 6 KOs), of Dallas, who was the aggressor throughout and effectively landed combinations at will against the gun-shy McCreary.

Judges scored the bout 79-73, 80-72 and 80-72 for Rojas.


Bauza demolishes Edwards in second-round KO

Junior welterweight prospect John Bauza was on a mission Saturday night, knocking down Christon Edwards three times in route to a second-round knockout victory.

The 23-year-old Bauza (15-0, 6 KOs), of Catano, Puerto Rico, jumped on Edwards early, with a strong right hook being Bauza’s most popular form of punishment.

Edwards, 28, of Houston, had multiple moments in the fight when he looked unprepared. He forgot his mouthpiece and oddly paused midway through the first round trying to get it. Edwards also got turned around awkwardly late in that round, and overall, he looked overmatched against Bauza.

It was the first fight in nearly a year for Bauza, but he looked in great form while earning the knockout victory.


Zayas dominates Fryers for TKO win

Top welterweight prospect Xander Zayas is the real deal, and he put on a show Saturday night by scoring a third-round TKO victory over Larry Fryers.

The 18-year-old Zayas (9-0, 7 KOs) looked very comfortable establishing his timing and punch selection. He unleashed six- and seven-punch combinations on Fryers (11-4, 4 KOs), of Clones, Ireland, who was getting pummeled and should be grateful for the referee stoppage.

It’s the third win of the year for Zayas, who is making a good early case as boxing’s prospect of the year.

Zayas, who takes great pride in his Puerto Rican roots, got the win on Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend.

“It’s surreal, because a couple of years ago I was watching Shakur Stevenson on TV; now being here, it shows that hard work is paying off,” Zayas told ESPN this week. “Being Puerto Rican, representing Puerto Rico, having the people see me and show me love at this young stage of my career means a lot of to me. I can’t wait to bring glory to the island.”

Top Rank has big plans for Zayas going forward. Most notably, it plans to pair him with top super middleweight prospect Edgar Berlanga — in different bouts — on a Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend card at Madison Square Garden next year. The way Zayas and Berlanga have looked, that might become a steady plan for years to come.


Lua edges Gonzalez in big win

Junior lightweight prospects Bryan Lua (8-0, 3 KOs) scored the biggest win of his young career in an action-packed unanimous decision victory over fellow undefeated prospect Frevian Gonzalez (4-1, 1 KO).

It was the most competitive bout of the card thus far, with two young Top Rank prospects each fighting to protect their “0.” At the end of six rounds, it was the 23-year-old Lua, of Madera, California, who was more effective with his combinations, hurting the 20-year-old Gonzalez, of Cidra, Puerto Rico, in waves throughout the fight.

The judges scored the bout 58-56, 60-54 and 60-54 for Lua.

This bout was initially scheduled for February on the undercard of Oscar Valdez-Miguel Berchelt, but it was postponed after Lua tested positive for COVID-19.


Isley stops Evans before heading to Olympics

Olympian and Top Rank middleweight prospect Troy Isley was aggressive from the jump. Ultimately, a bevy of glancing hooks and straights led to led to a fourth-round TKO of LaQuan Evans.

The 22-year-old Isley, of Alexandria, Virginia, improved to 2-0, 1 KO by walking down and beating up on Evans (4-2, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia. Evans took issue with the stoppage, but the bout was one-sided in favor of Isley, and Evans wasn’t very active in the fourth round, before the referee stopped the bout.

Isley will take a hiatus from pro boxing this summer as he heads to Tokyo on June 29 to fight for the United States in the Summer Olympics. That honor is special for Isley, who lost at the Olympics trials before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games as an amateur and believed he would never get another chance after turning pro earlier this year. But the United States decided to relax their rule of not allowing pros to box in the Olympics and invited Isley to join the team after using 2017-2019 world rankings to determine qualifiers for Tokyo.

Isley told ESPN this week he nearly cried when he received the call on June 6 that he made the U.S. team. He noted it’s been his dream since he was 7 years old to fight in the Olympics.

He had already agreed to fight Evans and decided to follow through with the commitment despite the Olympics bid — and now Isley gets to head to Tokyo with a knockout win under his belt.


Goldston dominates Anthony in unanimous decision win

Make it 2-for-2 for 18-year-old Top Rank welterweight prospects scoring unanimous decisions wins to kick off the undercard. Kasir Goldston, of Albany, New York, used his 72-inch reach to cruise to a victory over Maurice Anthony.

Goldston’s most consistent punch was a staggering right jab the kept pushing the aggressive Anthony, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, back. When it was over, all three judges scored the bout 40-36 for the southpaw Goldston.


Tucker stays unbeaten with decision win over Barboza

Top Rank welterweight prospect Jahi Tucker made easy work of Ysrael Barboza earning an unanimous decision victory to open up Saturday night’s undercard.

The 18-year-old Tucker (4-0, 2 KOs), who hails from Deer Park, New York, flashed movement and a productive jab while using his length to land at will. Barboza (3-2-1, 3 KOs) had some early success getting inside of the longer Tucker, but Barboza couldn’t compete with his size or speed. The 30-year-old out of Corpus Christi, Texas, survived all four rounds despite a moderate cut near the right eye.

All three judges scored the bout 40-36 for Tucker, who has registered all four of his pro wins over the past nine months.



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