Junior featherweight prospect Angelo Leo is looking to graduate to bona fide contender in 2020, and he ended 2019 on a real high note, dominating battle-tested Cesar Juarez en route to an 11th round stoppage in an IBF eliminator in Atlanta.
Leo (19-0, 9 KO) has never really been known as a big puncher, but he flashed some power this evening, putting Juarez (25-8, 19 KO) down three times officially, twice in the seventh round and again in the 11th. The first knockdown in the seventh round was as clean as it gets, a ripping left hook that put the Mexican down, but the second looked like it was probably more a shove as Leo unloaded trying to get Juarez out.
Juarez, who has been dropped many times in his career but stopped only twice now, showed his usual game resilience in the face of adversity, winging power shots at Leo, but he never got any real sustained momentum in the fight, as Leo landed the cleaner work throughout and was just the more polished-looking fighter.
When Juarez went down again in round 11, the referee took a good look after he got back up, then called the fight. It was a fair decision, as Juarez was no doubt down miles on the cards; BLH had it 99-89 at the time of stoppage, and with Juarez not being some one-punch guy, the decision to call it there was very reasonable. Juarez just had little to no hope of winning the fight.
Leo, 25, is now in line for a shot at the winner of the Jan. 30 fight between IBF/WBA titleholder Daniel Roman and Murodjon Akhmadaliev.