Oscar Valdez and Miguel Berchelt promised an all-Mexican clash for the ages. They delivered. Valdez knocked out Berchelt with a left hook at the end of the 10th round to win the WBC super featherweight world title from Berchelt, who was making his seventh title defense.
The hook crumpled Berchelt, who fell face-first to the canvas, and referee Russell Mora immediately waved off the fight (video of knockout here).
Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) was badly hurt and knocked down in the fourth, but steadied himself and continued to pressure Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) throughout the middle rounds. Valdez turned the tide once again in the ninth with a knockdown, and with the 10th round in hand, he lowered the boom.
Valdez said, “There’s nothing better in life than proving people wrong. I have a list of people who doubted me. My idols doubted me. Boxing analysts doubted me. They said Berchelt was going to knock me out. I have a message to everybody: Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do.
“I want to take this belt home, and I’m happy for that. Any champion out there… I heard Shakur Stevenson wants to fight. Let’s do it. I just want to keep on fighting and give the fans what they want.”
Flores Dominates Velez in Co-Feature
It’s time to crown Stockton’s King. Gabriel Flores Jr., the junior lightweight sensation from Stockton, California, made an emphatic statement, knocking out former world title challenger Jayson Velez in the sixth round. Flores (20-0, 7 KOs) knocked down Velez twice in the sixth, punctuating the victory with a left hook.
Flores (20-0, 7 KOs) became only the second man to stop Velez (29-8-1, 20 KOs), who was knocked out in 10 rounds by Oscar Valdez last July.
Flores said, “I could’ve done it earlier. I was playing with my food. [Trainer Gabriel Flores Sr.] told me I just gotta press it. Nothing was really going on those first five rounds, to be honest. I was just feeling him out.
“I would love to get the winner of Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton. I’d love that. I’m going to keep on working, and my performances are going to get better and better.”
In Berchelt vs Valdez undercard undercard bouts
Esquiva Falcao, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist from Brazil, picked up the most significant win of his career with a one-sided drubbing of two-time middleweight world title challenger Artur Akavov. After a rough opening round, Falcao was in command until Akavov’s corner stopped the fight following the fourth round. All three judges had Falcao ahead 39-37 at the time of the stoppage.
Elvis Rodriguez (11-0-1, 10 KOs) earned unanimous decision against Luis Alberto Veron (18-3-2, 9 KOs). Scores: 79-73 2x and 78-74. Rodriguez made his name as an explosive puncher, but showed his maturity and boxing acumen against Veron, a former WBO Latino belt-holder who has never been stopped as a pro. Rodriguez stunned Veron several times with right hooks, but the Argentine veteran was able to withstand the onslaught.
Rodriguez said, “This was my first scheduled eight-round fight, and I actually think I got a lot of good experience. Each fight, you acquire something different, and for this fight, I think the experience of going the rounds actually helped me out.
“It’s a great experience going the full eight rounds. It’s back to the gym to work on several things, specifically I know I needed to let my hands go a little more. When I did do that, I was able to hurt him. But in the end, I think it was a great experience. He’s a natural welterweight. He’s never been stopped, so I knew it would be a tough challenge, but you know I will go back to the gym and work harder to continue to grow in this sport.”
Xander Zayas (7-0, 1KO) defeated James Martin (6-2, 0 KOs) by UD. Scores: 60-54 3x. The 18-year-old Zayas went past the first round for the first time in nearly a year, outboxing the Philadelphia native Martin en route to the shutout victory.
Zayas said, “As a young fighter, you need these types of fights. I haven’t been out of the first round in nearly a year, so for me to get six round in, that was important.”
Javier Martinez (3-0, 1 KO) TKO’s Billy Wagner (3-2, 1 KO) in R1 at 1:51. Martinez, a southpaw from Milwaukee, unloaded on Wagner, stunning the Montana native early in the first round with a right hook. The one-way traffic was stopped shortly thereafter, and Martinez added a ‘1’ to the knockout column.
Omar Rosario (3-0, 1 KO) KO’s Uriel Villanueva (1-1) in R2 at 2:38. Former Puerto Rican amateur superstar Rosario notched the first stoppage win of his career, as two knockdowns in the second round prompted referee Robert Hoyle to stop the fight.