Former European middleweight champ Kamil Szeremeta has never been known as a puncher, but the 29-year-old from Poland promised an early stoppage in his US debut tonight at Madison Square Garden, and he delivered.
Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KO) stopped blown-up featherweight Oscar Cortes (27-5, 14 KO) early in the second round, having dropped him on a left hook in the opening frame.
Cortes was hit with a series of shots in the second, and he did get hit with a late shot once his knee was on the canvas. But it didn’t appear to be an intentional foul from Szeremeta, and referee Benjy Esteves Jr didn’t buy into Cortes’ rolling and flopping performance, either, instead counting and just stopping the fight even though Cortes did get up.
This is a notable win for Szeremeta not because Cortes is any great opponent — he isn’t — but because with the victory, Szeremeta will keep himself highly ranked by the IBF, whose middleweight title is currently vacant and on the line in tonight’s Golovkin-Derevyanchenko main event. I don’t think anyone really wants the winner of that fight to face Szeremeta next, but it’s a legitimate possibility.
Results from the pre-stream portion of the undercard:
Nikita Ababiy KO-1 Isiah Seldon
Ababiy (7-0, 6 KO) is a very good middleweight prospect. Bruce Seldon’s son Isiah (13-3-1, 4 KO) is not. He’s very, very not. Ababiy is 20 and Matchroom have some high hopes for him, which are warranted thus far. He’s done the job every time out.
Marco Delgado TKO-2 Joe Ward
This is an unfortunate situation. Ward (0-1) was making his much-anticipated pro debut, a light heavyweight amateur standout from Ireland, but he injured his knee in the second round and couldn’t continue. The injury was said to look “serious” by those ringside. Obviously this isn’t the way Ward, 25, wanted to start his pro career. He’d probably rather have just been knocked out cold, honestly. Delgado improves to 6-1 (5 KO) with the victory.