Sunday, April 02, 2023  |


Vergil Ortiz Jr. stops Egidijus Kavaliauskas in eight rounds 

Vergil Ortiz proved he's ready for the top welterweights with his eighth-round stoppage of battle-tested puncher Mean Machine. Photo by Kevin Estrada / Golden Boy Promotions
Fighters Network

He had a job to do in front of his hometown crowd, and he got it done.  

Fighting in his native Texas and with the commitment of setting up a potential world title mega-bout, Vergil Ortiz Jr. progressively demolished Egidijus Kavaliauskas in a scheduled 12 round bout to finally stop him in the eighth episode of a welterweight fight at the The Ford Center in Frisco, Texas.  

Kavaliauskas came out throwing hard right hands in the first round, scoring enough to get the round in most cards. Ortiz gained a greater sense of urgency in the second, digging deep to Kavaliauskas’ body and going upstairs occasionally. Urged by a partisan crowd, Ortiz started stepping into his punches and putting weight on them as the round progressed, landing solid and clean bombs that nevertheless failed to halt Kavaliauskas’ advances. A wild swing by Ortiz ended with the local fighter on his knees in what was ruled as an accidental slip, but which sounded the alarms nonetheless.  

As his corner went into a frenzy to restore his confidence and his focus, Ortiz looked hurt but unfazed after one of the toughest rounds of his young career. Kavaliauskas came out punching in the third and worked behind his jab effectively, as Ortiz tried to pick his punches and target his foe’s head with some success. As the round was ending, a combination (jab-right-hook) by Ortiz finally managed to deposit Kavaliauskas on the seat of his trunks to make up for what seemed to be a two-round deficit at that point.  

Compubox numbers started to show the more effective work rate of Ortiz through the early going, and the Texan finally started looking like the favorite in the fourth when he patiently worked behind his jab to then land furious hooks and straight rights to punish Kavaliauskas. The same pattern continued in the fifth, with Ortiz finally turning the tide and imposing respect on the Lithuanian contender.  

In the sixth round, Kavaliauskas gained some confidence after landing a few solid shots in the early going, backing up Ortiz and upsetting his tempo. A solid right hand by Ortiz ended the round, but by then Kavaliauskas had done enough to grab the round. Ortiz won the seventh with a superior level of aggression and a demolishing jab that kept Kavaliauskas at bay and set him up for a barrage of punches towards the end of the round.  

The eighth round was Ortiz’s first ever, since all of his earlier bouts had ended before that. Kavaliauskas came out determined to upset Ortiz’s tempo again and not let him get his rhythm going, but midway through the round he received some serious punishment to the body that forced him to take a knee for an eight-count.  

Smelling blood in the water, Ortiz went to work on the midsection of a suddenly flat-footed Kavaliauskas, who went down for a second count after a left hook in a neutral corner. After a third knockdown in the same round, and with only ten seconds on the clock, Ortiz went after his prey with unstoppable ferociousness, and got his reward when Kavaliauskas fell once again and referee Laurence Cole finally decided he had seen enough. The action was stopped only one second before the bell to end the round, just enough to make Kavaliauskas the man who lasted the most rounds against Ortiz in a boxing ring so far.  

“I think I did alright. I am happy with my performance and I think I will do better from here,” said Ortiz, dismissing the thought that he had been hurt in the early going. “Honestly, I was not as hurt as you think I was. He hit me with a good shot but I wasn’t even hurt.” 

“We worked on trying to box more, and we put it to a good use. The body shots were going to be the key to victory. I slowed him down, and that was it,” remarked Ortiz, who also refused to make comparisons between his eighth-round win and archrival’s Terence Crawford’s ninth round win against the same foe.  

“Was it eight rounds? I thought it was four,” joked Ortiz, to the delight of the crowd. “Crawford and me, we are different fighters. There’s so much shit going on in boxing right now that I don’t know what I need to do to fight hm. But I’ll fight (Errol) Spence, Crawford, (Manny) Pacquiao, I’ll fight anyone.” 

With the win, Ortiz extends his perfect streak to 18-0 with 18 KOs, while Kavaliauskas dips to 22-2-1 with 18 stoppage wins.


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