Felix Verdejo picks up win over Bryan Vasquez on Crawford-Khan card

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NEW YORK – Felix Verdejo returned to New York City to earn his first significant win since his lone defeat, outpointing Bryan Vasquez by unanimous decision on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The official scores at ringside were 97-93 on two cards and 98-92 on the third.

It was in this same building albeit the smaller room inside The Theatre 13 months ago when Verdejo (25-1, 16 KOs) suffered a stunning  stoppage at the hands of Antonio Lozado. That night was also nearly two years after Verdejo suffered serious injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident which put his career on pause.

Hoping to prove the tough times are behind him, the Puerto Rican native showed glimpses of the skills which made him a highly coveted prospect tonight by moving well enough to outpoint Vasquez (37-4, 20 KOs), who was defensive-minded and failed to open up even when Verdejo provided the openings to do so.

“It was an honor for me to get a big victory in front of my fans at Madison Square Garden. I defeated a great fighter in Vasquez. I worked hard for this fight. The jab and body punches were key,” said Verdejo, 25.

Against Vasquez, Verdejo moved well enough to pop the Costa Rican fighter with a jab-right hand repeatedly, keeping Vasquez on the ropes. If Verdejo was cautious enough to not throw much, Vasquez threw even less, content with trying to catch the Puerto Rican with one big shot which never came. 

Verdejo suffered a cut under his left eye in the fourth round which added some urgency to Verdejo as he raked Vasquez across with the face with a right hand causing Vasauez to cover up and move away. Verdejo didn’t follow up but stalked the shorter fighter looking for an opening to deliver another meaningful shot. 

Vasquez landed his best punch of the night in the last round causing Verdejo to stumble but Verdejo remained composed and the two fighters decided to trade with one another giving the fans in attendance something to cheer for.  

This marked the sixth time Verdejo has fought at The Garden, and third time in the big room, and Top Rank is hoping to once again reestablish the glimmering shine of the prospect that they signed following the 2012 London Games when he gave the eventual gold medal winner Vasiliy Lomachenko a tough fight in the quarter finals. 

Adames stops Galarza

Hard-hitting Dominican slugger Carlos Adames (17-0, 13 KOs) scores a fourth-round TKO victory over Brooklyn’s Frank Galarza (20-3-2, 12 KOs). The official time of the stoppage was 1:07 of the fourth round. 

The 24-year-old Adames dropped Galarza with a well-timed left hook in the fourth round which landed right under Galarza’s chin. Galarza beat the count but his body language languished as Adames came on and opened up a barrage of blistering left and right combinations sending Galarza to the ropes. The battle-tested Galarza tried to fight Adames off, but it was another left hook to the head which hurt Galarza and caused him to cover up. After a succession of unanswered blows from Adams referee Benji Esteves jumped in and stopped the bout.    

“This was a message to all of the 154-pounders,” Adames said immediately after the bout. “I want to face all the best. I’m coming hungry and I’m determined to fight for a world title by the end of the year. I don’t care who has a title. I want it.”

This is Adames’ first bout with Robert Garcia as trainer and his fourth under Top Rank. Adames won a 10-round decision over Alejandro Barrera on the Lomachenko-Linares undercard and then went on to rack up early stoppage over Joshua Conley and Juan Ruiz. 

For the 33-year-old Galarza this loss snaps a three fight winning streak after suffering back to back loses to Jarret Hurd and Ishe Smith.

Brooklyn middleweight prospect Edgar Berlanga (10-0, 10 KOs) blew away Samir Barbosa (37-16-3, 26 KOs) in the first round with a searing TKO victory. The official time of the stoppage was 46 seconds of the first round.

The 21-year-old Berlanga has yet to smell the second round as a professional as he joined forces with Top Rank recently to and stepped up the competition to face a veteran in Barbosa with 56 fights under his belt.

The Puerto Rican budding star came out his corner swinging and landed virtually every bomb he threw rendering his 38-year-old Brazilian opponent defenseless. Referee Eddie Claudio did not waste much time jumping and calling a halt to the bout after Barbosa ate several clean shots. After the bout was stopped, Barbosa took a seat on his stool with very poor body language which was a testament to the amount of damage the 6’1’’ Berlanga unleashed in such a short amount of time.

“I know this will open up a lot of opportunities for me,” Berlanga said. “ I want to make my people from Brooklyn and Puerto Rico proud.”

Top Rank announced afterwards that Berlanga will be added to their May 25 card in Kissimmee, Florida. 

Irish super lightweight prospect Larry Fryers improved to 10-1, 3 KOs by earning a unanimous decision victory over Dakota Polley (5-3, 2 KOs) The official scores at ringside were 60-53 on all three cards.

In a bout which resembled more of a pier-six-brawl than the sweet science, Fryers shut out Polley by landing the cleaner shots. Both fighters were worse for the wear with Fryers’s right eye a bloody mess and Polley’s right eye cut from an inadvertent headbutt.

The 28-year-old Fryer was the one pressing the action in a foul-filled bout which saw referee Eddie Claudio deduct a point away from Polley in the fifth round for a low blow. Fryer has now won three bouts in a row since suffering a stunning defeat to Nikolai Buzolin on the Daniel Jacobs-Maciej Sulecki undercard at Barclays Center last year. 

Two-time Olympian Vikas Krishan (2-0, 1 KO) defeated Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2 KOs) by unanimous decision in their six-round bout. The official scores at ringside were 60-54 twice and 59-55.

The southpaw, who still works as a police officer back home in India, used his jab and a good amount of body work to control almost the entire bout. Perhaps feeling gassed, Krishan almost made a fatal mistake dropping his hands with 30 seconds left in the sixth and final round when Kidd caught Krishan with a straight left hand flush on the face.

Krishan managed to hold on to Kidd in a veteran-type move and survive a last-ditch effort from Kidd to escape danger. This bout proved to me more difficult than Krishan’s pro debut in January when he scored a first round knockout after signing his deal with top Rank.

The 27-year-old Krishan is the most decorated amateur boxer in Indian history, appearing in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games and winning the Asian and Commonwealth Games. Krishan has the distinct honor of winning a a 13-11 decision victory over Errol Spence Jr. at the 2012 Games in London only to have the decision overturned five hours later due to the fouls Krishan committed during the bout.  Four years later in Brazil Krishan advanced to the quarterfinals defeating U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell along the way.

In the opening bout of the evening bantamweight prospect Lawrence Newton (12-0, 7 KOs) won a six-round unanimous decision over Jonathan Garza by unanimous decision (7-3, 2 KOs). The official scores at ringside were 60-54 and 59-55 twice.

The 22-year-old Newton was too quick for Garza catching him off balance and countering him with multiple combinations. Newton really made Garza pay in the fourth round when Garza threw a weak jab that Newton evaded and lunged in with a left hook of his own. Feeling more confident, Newton out of Deerfield, Florida stepped on the gas up and layered in another four-punch combination stunning Garza. The Terence Crawford stablemate is coming off a second round TKO victory over Szilveszter Ajtai last October in Kentucky. 

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