Sammy Vazquez Jr stayed unbeaten by stopping James Stevenson in a battle of unbeaten but rather untested prospects tonight on FOX Sports 1, in front of a raucous hometown crowd in Pittsburgh. Vazquez (16-0, 12 KO) earned the stoppage early in round nine, after scoring a knockdown in round eight.
Stevenson (21-1, 14 KO) did have some moments on the night, and proved his toughness repeatedly. He was outboxed by the more skilled Vasquez, but Stevenson came to fight and came to win, which kept the crowd rolling after a fantastic co-feature fight, which we'll discuss just below this.
Vasquez, 28, might be the closest in the Iron Mike Productions camp to being ready to make a chase to a world title, and he's still a good ways off himself. But while he doesn't scream "special fighter," he's got some clear talent, and a good fan base in the Pittsburgh area. By the end of 2015, who knows? Maybe he's knocking on the door a little louder.
In the co-feature, Pittsburgh favorite Monty Meza Clay improved to 36-3 (22 KO) with a 10th round stoppage of Alan Herrera (32-7, 21 KO) in an all-action brawl. The referee made the questionable decision to stop the fight with a minute remaining, but it's more questionable in the "HONOR GLADIATOR WARRIORS!" way than in the "ref did his job badly" way. Herrera was down in the sixth round. Both guys fought their guts out and brought the house down. This is one to find if you missed it.
In the opening televised bout, Ukrainian amateur standout Ievgen Khytrov went to 6-0 (6 KO) by blitzing and stopping Willie Fortune (17-2, 8 KO) in 30 seconds flat. You might remember Fortune from a loss in 2013 on ShoBox against Tureano Johnson. Khytrov, a middleweight prospect, is only 25, and looks like a monster in the making so far.