Former bantamweight titleholders Luis Nery and Juan Carlos Payano seemed to be about even through eight rounds, and then Nery’s power finally made the difference, as he knocked Payano out on a vicious body shot.
Nery (30-0, 24 KO) has now won 11 straight fights by stoppage. The 24-year-old Mexican star never lost the WBC title in the ring, dropping it on the scales before his rematch with Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2018, and remains a top fighter at 118 pounds.
But Payano (21-3, 9 KO) had the right plan in this fight, and executed pretty well. He outworked Nery and moved around a lot, keeping the powerful, younger fighter from putting punches together, and staying out of his wheelhouse.
Still, it always seemed kind of inevitable that Nery was going to get to him, and he did. The body shot was a crushing blow, with Payano trying to get up, but just unable to get back to his feet.
“He was a very complicated fighter, he’s a veteran, I had to adapt to his style. But then I started getting control of the fight, and the left hook came to the body, which was devastating,” Nery said through a translator.
It’s now expected that Nery will face the winner of an upcoming WBC title fight between Nordine Oubaali and Takuma Inoue. Oubaali holds the WBC title, Inoue the interim WBC title, and Payano the silver WBC title. Nery would be a favorite against either man.