By Keith Idec
Junior Fa destroyed Fred Latham on Friday night.
The powerful heavyweight from New Zealand needed just 1:07 to knock out Latham in a fight that was scheduled for eight rounds. Fa initially hurt Latham with a left hook to the head, before unloading a barrage of power shots to Latham’s head that forced referee Clifford Pinkney to stop the bout.
Pittsburgh’s Latham was out on his feet, slumped in a neutral corner, when Pinkney halted the action.
The 6-feet-5, 262-pound Fa, who beat WBO champion Joseph Parker twice as an amateur, improved to 13-0 and recorded his eighth knockout. The 6-feet-2, 261-pound Latham slipped to 9-1-2.
The 27-year-old Latham was unbeaten before Friday night, but only one of the nine boxers he had defeated had a winning record.
Fa’s quick victory was the second of four fights Showtime televised from the Masonic Temple & Performing Arts Center in Cleveland.
Also on the card, Charles Conwell continued the impressive start to his pro career Friday night.
The 20-year-old super welterweight prospect went the distance for the first time in six pro bouts, but floored Roque Zapata three times on his way to an easy unanimous-decision win in their six-round bout (60-51, 60-51, 60-53). Cleveland’s Conwell, a 2016 Olympian, improved to 6-0 in the opener of a four-fight “ShoBox” broadcast from the Masonic Temple & Performing Arts Center in Cleveland.
Panama’s Zapata, 22, dropped to 4-2-3.
Conwell drilled Zapata with a left hook to the body that sent Zapata to one knee with 2:19 to go in the fifth round. Zapata reached his feet following the third knockdown of the bout, but Conwell hit him with body and head shots for the remainder of the round.
A left hook to the body by Conwell hurt Zapata just before the bell sounded to end the fourth round. Zapata also suffered a cut over his left eye in the fourth round.
Conwell connected with a short right uppercut that dropped Zapata with 2:27 to go in the third round. Zapata came dangerously close to not getting up in time, but beat referee George Nichols’ count just in time.
Conwell’s left hook to the body, followed by a left hook to the head dumped Zapata to his gloves and knees with about 1:15 left in the third. Zapata got up again, tried to fight out of the trouble and survived until the end of the round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.