Lester Martinez (left) vs. Lucas de Abreu
Lester Martinez, of Guatemala, sent a message out to the rest of the super middleweight division on Wednesday night.
Martinez remained unbeaten, dropping Lucas de Abreu three times en route to a stoppage win, at Whitesands (also known as the ProBox) Events Center, in Plant City, Florida.
The 27-year-old Martinez improved to 16-0, 14 knockouts.
Martinez utilized his strength and aggression to walk down de Abreu. Martinez landed two and three-punch combinations, connecting almost at will. About halfway through the second round, Martinez landed a left-right combo flush to the head, which de Abreu took well, even smiling at Martinez.
During the third round, Martinez landed a right cross to the temple, forcing de Abreu to drop to one knee. After beating the count, de Abreu was dropped again, this time by a right uppercut to the head.
Despite being outgunned, de Abreu continued to stay in the pocket early in Round 4. The tactic backfired, as Martinez hurt de Abreu with a left hook upstairs. Martinez followed up with a barrage of punches to the head, dropping de Abreu a third time to the canvas, next to the ropes. Referee Emil Lombardi stopped the fight at 33 seconds.
Martinez had faced modest opposition, thus far, in his pro career. Martinez took a step up in opposition, in his previous fight, on April 10, stopping once-beaten prospect Isaiah Steen in the eighth round. The win over Steen took place about five months after Martinez stopped Fabian Rios Frausto in a stay-busy fight.
The 30-year-old de Abreu falls to 14-4, 11 KOs. The São Paulo, Brazil resident previously fought on February 22, losing by unanimous decision to unbeaten prospect Darrelle Valsaint. He has lost four of his last six bouts, with the other defeats coming at the hands of unbeaten super middleweights Diego Pacheco and Ernesbadi Begue.
In light heavyweight action, Najee Lopez (7-0, 6 KOs), of Ellenwood, Georgia, scored a one-punch knockout win over gatekeeper Christopher Brooker.
Lopez backed Brooker against the ropes. As Brooker slightly dropped his head, Lopez punched down, landing a right upstairs, dropping Brooker to the canvas. Referee Gene Del Bianco counted him out at 48 seconds of Round 1.
Replays showed Lopez landing a right cross near the back of Brooker’s ear.
Brooker, who resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, falls to 16-14, 6 KOs. The 32-year-old has now lost his last seven fights.
In the opening bout of the ProBox TV card, welterweight prospect Kelvin Davis (9-0, 6 KOs) dropped Derrick Whitley, Jr. twice en route to a fourth round stoppage victory.
In a clash of southpaw fighters, Davis was more effective, continuously landing straight lefts and crosses to Whitley’s head. Toward the end of the second round, Davis landed a left cross to the body that caused a delayed reaction, forcing Whitley to drop to one knee. Whitley beat the count and was lucky the bell sounded to end the round.
After Davis won the third round, he stunned Whitley with a left cross upstairs. Whitley backed into a corner, where Davis dropped him with a combination to the head, dropping him to one knee. Although Whitley beat the count, referee Gene Del Bianco stopped the fight at 2:02.
Davis is trained by Brian “Bomac” McIntyre, who also trains WBO welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford. Davis is also the older brother of lightweight prospect Keyshawn Davis. Both Davis brothers are promoted by Top Rank.
Whitley, who resides in Springfield, Massachusetts, falls to 7-4-1.
Lightweight Julio Solis, of nearby Tampa, defeated Yesner Talavera by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 80-72 in favor of Solis, who improved to 9-0, 6 KOs.
Talavera, who is originally from Managua, Nicaragua, and now resides in Gerona, Spain, falls to 15-15-1, 4 KOs. The 28-year-old has now lost his last 12 fights.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also follow Francisco on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.