By Jake Donovan
Erick de Leon had his shoulder tapped to come in on short notice to headline the 2016 season premiere of Solo Boxeo Tecate on UniMas. His performance didn't at at reflect a fighter who didn't have time to train, as the unbeaten lightweight registered his quickest win since his pro debut in stopping Fidel Navarette in the opening round of their main event Saturday evening at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas.
The Detroit-based prospect - originally from Mexico - wasted no time in taking the fight to Navarette. Combination punching early on had him on the defensive, allowing de Leon to march in and land as he pleased.
As quickly as the fight heated up, it came to a sudden ending. The southpaw landed a corker of a right hook, flooring Navarette and functionally ending the fight. Referee Laurence Cole gave the Indiana-bred lightweight sufficient time to recover, but halted the contest once completely convinced that he could no longer continue.
The official time was 2:18 of round one.
de Leon improves to (12-0, 6KOs). The time of the stoppage falls just 10 seconds short of his quickest, taking out club fighter Eric Ricker at the 2:08 of his pro debut in Dec. '12.
In the co-feature, Matt Korobov enjoyed a triumphant ring return following more than a year-long absence, as he pounded out an eight-round shutout decision over durable Josue Ovando from Mexico.
Scores were 80-71 across the board for Korobov (25-1, 14KOs) - a former amateur standout who represented Russia during the 2008 Olympics, whose pro career has not quite caught up to such lofty standards. The southpaw went in for a bid at a vacant title, suffering a 6th round stoppage at the hands of Andy Lee in their Dec. '14.
Korobov sat out all of 2015 before returning on Saturday. He was given the work his career needed given the absence, but lacked any significant pop as observers hoped for that moment when the fight would be one punch away from a dramatic ending.
He instead had to settle for a lopsided decision, adding insult to injury when the 26-year old from, Guadalajara was docked a point from Ovando for excessive clinching in the 8th and final round.
Both bout aired live on UniMas in the United States and TV Azteca in Mexico.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox