On Saturday, IBF featherweight world champion Luis Alberto Lopez (28-2, 16 KOs) went on the road again and scored a fifth-round TKO over Michael “Mick” Conlan (18-2, 9 KOs) at The SSE Arena in Conlan’s hometown of Belfast.
Lopez, 29, made the first defense of his crown after capturing the title from Josh Warrington in enemy territory in Leeds, England.
Unfortunately for Conlan, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, his second attempt at a world title falls short.
Conlan, 31, had some moments in this fight, but Lopez really had no problems landing, and things started to fall apart for Conlan in the third round as Lopez timed an uppercut that hurt him and sent him against the ropes.
In the fifth round, the fight ended as Conlan, who tried to avoid a hook, ran into a right uppercut that immediately floored him, forcing his corner to throw in the towel.
“I hope all the world champions at the featherweight division are ready for ‘Venado’ Lopez,” Lopez said after the win. “I’m coming for all of them. I want all their belts. One by one, I’m taking all their belts with me to Mexico.”
Conlan had nothing but respect for the Mexican star.
“Lopez had my respect before the fight and still has my respect after the fight,” Conlan said. “He hits very hard. He just beat me. He travels well and is a great champion.”
In other action:
Featherweights: English contender Nick Ball (18-0, 11 KOs) defended his WBC Silver title with a 12th-round TKO win over South Africa’s Ludumo Lamati (21-1-1, 11 KOs). Lamati’s six-inch height advantage posed issues for Ball in the first two rounds of the fight, but by the third and fourth, Ball began closing the distance with ease. Once inside, the 26-year-old landed vicious combinations, and Lamati’s corner stopped the bout in the latter stages of the final round.
Junior Lightweights: Anthony Cacace (21-1, 7 KOs) scored a 12-round unanimous decision win against Polish contender Damian Wrzesinski (26-3-2, 7 KOs). Despite Wrzesinski’s aggression, Cacace’s reach and height advantages allowed him to land harder and more consistently from his southpaw stance. Cacace is now 6-0 since suffering his first loss in 2017 against Martin J Ward. Scores: 118-111, 117-111 and 116-112.
Junior Welterweights: Irish standout Pierce O’Leary (12-0, 7 KOs) defended his WBC International belt with a first-round stoppage over Florin Ciorceri (17-4, 7 KOs). O’Leary dropped Ciorceri with a left hook, then finished things up with a savage follow-up attack. Time of stoppage: 1:11.