Angel Acosta knocks out Abraham Rodriguez in two, defends WBO 108-pound title
Angel Acosta successfully defended his WBO junior flyweight title, scoring a highlight-reel one-punch knockout victory over Mexico’s Abraham Rodriguez Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
It was the second defense of the title Acosta claimed on Dec. 2, when he knocked out Juan Alejo of Mexico in New York City.
The fight between Acosta and Rodriguez was another chapter in the long rivalry between fighters from Mexico and Puerto Rico and it ended abruptly.
Acosta, who is rated No. 5 by The Ring at 108 pounds, landed a left hook to the head, dropping Rodriguez flat on his back in Round 2. Referee Russell Mora immediately stepped in to stop the bout at 1:02.
“We were working on the left hook in the gym,” said Acosta, who resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “My team told me to use the jab, to keep looking for him and then I found him. I want to fight (again) this year or when (2019) starts.”
Acosta (19-1, 19 knockouts) is trained by Freddie Roach and has won his last three bouts since a decision loss to Kosei Tanaka on May 20 of last year.
Rodriguez, who is ranked No. 11 by the WBO, drops to 23-2, 11 KOs and has now lost two of his last three fights.
Junior middleweight Bakhram Murtazaliev won a 10-round unanimous decision over gatekeeper Norberto Gonzalez of Mexico.
Murtazaliev, a Russian puncher who is promoted by Main Events, was simply too skilled and strong for his opponent who remained game throughout.
Gonzalez (23-12, 13 KOs) had to deal with a cut over his left eye from an accidental clash of heads sustained in Round 3. He did well in spots, however, fighting back and connecting with combinations.
But Murtazaliev never got away from the game plan; landing two and three-punch combinations, and even hurting Gonzalez in the final 20 seconds of the 10th and final round.
All three judges scored the bout 100-90 in favor of Murtazaliev, who improves to 14-0, 12 KOs. Murtazaliev is ranked No. 9 by the WBO and No. 10 by the IBF.
Welterweight contender Rashidi Ellis battered veteran Saul Corral of Mexico en route to a seventh-round stoppage.
Ellis, who is ranked No. 8 by the IBF, used his speed and athleticism to walk Corral down. He dropped Corral with a three-punch combination, but Corral was not visibly hurt and fought on.
Corral attempted to mount an offense but found himself on the defensive after Ellis countered with lead right hands or three-punch combinations.
Seconds into Round 7, Ellis hurt Corral with a right hand and dropped him moments later with a flurry. Corral beat the count but was then staggered by a right cross. Ellis followed up with another barrage and dropped his man once more. Corral beat the count, but referee Jay Nady waved the fight off at 0:38.
“Corral’s a veteran and has been in a lot of tough fights, but I did what I needed to do. He complained to the ref because he was looking for excuses. He was looking for a way out.”
Corral drops to 28-13, 19 KOs.
Middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov, another fighter who is promoted by Main Events, dropped Jamar Freeman en route to a one-sided decision win over eight rounds.
Nursultanov dropped Freeman in Round 2. Freeman complained that punches hit him in the back of the head and replays confirmed that.
The 25-year-old Nursultanov, a prospect from Kazakhstan who now resided in Oxnard, Calif., was the busier and more-effective fighter.
All three judges scored the bout 80-71 in favor of Nursultanov, who improves to 9-0, 7 KOs. Freeman falls to 15-7-2, 8 KOs.
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