William Encarnacion buckled Abraham Nova’s legs after landing a right hand in the first round Saturday night.
That stunning shot apparently woke up the undefeated featherweight contender. Nova recovered quickly, took complete control of their 10-rounder and impressively broke down the Dominican veteran in the opener of ESPN’s doubleheader from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Nova (21-0, 15 KOs), a native Puerto Rican who has long resided in Albany, New York, stopped Encarnacion 55 seconds into the eighth round. Trainer Luis Perez, who worked Encarnacion’s corner for the first time, decided Encarnacion had taken enough punishment and requested a stoppage.
Encarnacion (19-2, 15 KOs), a 2012 Olympian, lost for the second time in his past four fights in the co-feature before Joe Smith Jr. defended his WBO light heavyweight title against Steve Geffrard.
A right hand by Nova snapped back Encarnacion’s head about 40 seconds into the eighth round. Barely 10 seconds later, a New York State Athletic Commission inspector instructed referee Benjy Esteves to stop the fight.
Nova caught Encarnacion with a right hand that buckled his legs with 1:10 to go in the seventh round. About 10 seconds later, Nova clipped Encarnacion with a right uppercut.
Toward the end of a one-sided seventh round, Nova landed an array of power punches that moved Encarnacion all around the ring.
An accurate, active Nova picked apart throughout the sixth round, when Encarnacion fought off his back foot and tried to fend him off.
Nova went to Encarnacion’s body and then drilled him with a right hand 25 seconds into the fifth round. A committed Nova continued to hammer away at Encaracion’s body in a one-sided fifth round.
Nova nailed Encarnacion with a left to the body with about 45 seconds to go in the fourth round. Encarnacion had let his hands go in combination just before Nova landed that body shot.
Nova’s left hook and right hand landed just before the midway mark of the third round. A right hand by Nova backed Encarnacion into the ropes with a minute to go in the third round.
Encarnacion went southpaw toward the end of the third round, though that didn’t bother Nova.
A right-left combination by Nova to Encarnacion’s body moved him backward with about 1:45 to go in the second round. Nova also landed multiple right hands in the final minute of the second round, which he clearly won.
A right hand by Encarnacion buckled Nova’s knees and made him hold Encarnacion with 1:25 to go in the opening round. Nova tried to work off his jab and establish distance for most of the remainder of the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.