Montiel stops Hasegawa in four
Bantamweight contender Fernando Montiel scored one of the biggest victories of his career when he stopped respected titleholder Hozumi Hasegawa in the fourth round of their scheduled 12 rounder in Tokyo on Friday.
Montiel (41-2-2, 31 knockouts), a former titleholder at flyweight and junior bantamweight, unified two 118-pound titles and put himself in position to break into the pound-for-pound top-10 lists of most fans and media with the impressive stoppage.
Hasegawa (28-3, 12 KOs), THE RING's No. 1-rated bantamweight, was more aggressive than usual, pressing the action in the first two rounds, and landing his left in the third and the first half of the fourth rounds.
Montiel, a 31-year-old veteran from Los Mochis, Mexico, kept his composure, even when he was knocked off balance at the end of the opening round, and looked to land left-hook counter punches over the pawing jab of the Japanese southpaw.
Montiel found the mark with less that 10 seconds left in the fourth round, buckling Hasegawa's legs with a hook and driving the disoriented fighter to the ropes where he followed up with a series of hooks that prompted referee Laurence Cole to wave the bout off at 2:59 of the round.
Hasegawa, of Kobe, Japan, who had contemplated going up in weight before signing to fight Montiel, was attempting to make the 11th defense of the title he won from Thai legend Veeraphol Sahaprom five years ago. With the tough loss, the 29-year-old vet, who had struggled to make 118 pounds in recent fights, will likely jump all the way to featherweight if he decides to continue his career.