Vincent Astrolabio promised promoter Manny Pacquiao a knockout as a gift for Pac-Man’s 44th birthday today, and he delivered on that, stopping Nikolai Potapov in the sixth round of a fairly one-sided fight to open tonight’s Showtime Championship Boxing broadcast.
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Highlights from the fight:
Astrolabio sent Potapov to the canvas for the first time in his career at the close of round 1. #AstrolabioPotapov #RiveraMartin pic.twitter.com/Z8BsCjN0w6— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) December 18, 2022
Another knockdown by Astrolabio! #AstrolabioPotapov #RiveraMartin pic.twitter.com/VeP93jfpEt— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) December 18, 2022
Astrolabio delivers on his promise to @MannyPacquiao and gets the KO win over Popatov #AstrolabioPotapov #RiveraMartin pic.twitter.com/IUexaAZlQw— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) December 18, 2022
The fight was an IBF bantamweight eliminator, so the 25-year-old Astrolabio (18-3, 13 KO) will now be in line for what should soon be a vacant title, and the most likely matchup at the moment seems to be Emmanuel Rodriguez, a former titleholder.
It’d be a good fight, and should be easy enough for PBC to get done. Naoya Inoue, of course, just fully unified the division this past Tuesday, but has already indicated he’ll be going north to 122 lbs, which is what everyone expected going into that bout. So bantamweight is about to open up in a big way in 2023, and Astrolabio is in that top-level mix.