By Reynaldo "El Papi Chulo" Sanchez, Photo by Jose Ramos

PONCE, PUERTO RICO - Alberto 'El Explosivo' Machado staked his NABO world title, the regional organization affiliated with the WBO, in the stellar clash presented by Miguel Cotto Promotions at the modern Ponce Feria Complex on Saturday night as part of Cotto's series on DIRECTV channel 161.

The Puerto Rican knockout artist raised his record to 17-0 and 15 KOs, with a first round knockout of experienced Mexican fighter Juan Jose 'Piquet' Martinez (26-4 and 18 KO's). The ten round bout was part of a co-promotion with H2 Entertainment, that will be part of the DIRECTV Boxing Nights series.

The Mexican boxer Martinez visited the canvas twice ' before the referee of the match Jose H. Rivera decided to stop the fight.  

Machado is viewed as a serious contender to the super featherweight title. And with each presentation Machado comes out showing great skills and a powerful punch. His opponent, Martinez, led another Puerto Rican fighter, Félix Verdejo, to the fifth round before getting stopped in a June 2016 clash.

"This fight is extremely important for Machado, not only for his hand to get raised high but also his NABO crown and he is classified within the first ten in the world at 130 pounds. We know that Machado has the potential and the skills," said promoter Héctor Soto.

IN OTHER RESULTS: Defending WSB Champions Cuba Domadores maintained their pursuit of Group A leaders Colombia Heroicos with a hard-earned win over the Argentina Condors in the city of Rosario on Friday night. The Condors got the night off to a brilliant start to light up their home crowd, but the Cuban side once again showed its mettle, the 4-1 win setting up a mouth-watering tie against Colombia in three weeks’ time to decide who will top the table.

Argentina’s Rio 2016 Olympic Light Flyweight (49kg) boxer Leandro Blanc continued his excellent Season VII form in the night’s opening bout against Cuba’s WSB newcomer Jorge Grinan. It was a high-energy affair between two sharp 49kg talents, the two exchanging periods of dominance as the punches came thick and fast, before Blanc asserted himself over the final moments to secure the best possible start for the hosts.

There followed a chastening WSB debut for the Condors’ new Bantamweight (56kg) talent Brian Arguello against the Domadores’ Youth World Champion Javier Ibanez, undefeated in three WSB bouts. Arguello managed to surprise his opponent early on with some big left hooks, but Ibanez took his time to assume control, wearing down the Argentine’s resilient defences with some draining combinations and tying the score at 1-1 with a unanimous win.

The hosts’ Ronan Nahuel Sanchez has been part of the World Series of Boxing since Season III, but has faced few opponents with a jab as fast and powerful as that of Cuba’s Andy Cruz, who showed exactly why he is considered one of the world’s brightest Light Welterweight (64kg) prospects with a unanimous points win. At 2-1 up, Cuba’s Middleweight (75kg) Osley Iglesias hoped he could seal the win in his first WSB appearance, and seal it he most certainly did. Angel Joaquin Lingua was also looking for his first win over five rounds, but was afforded no time to find his rhythm as Iglesias piled on the pressure from the first bell, forcing Lingua onto the ropes time and again and leaving his corner little option but to halt the bout before the end of the first round.

That left an engrossing battle between two Heavyweight (91kg) greats to round off the night. Argentina’s Yamil Alberto Peralta and Cuba Domadores’ Erislandy Savon put on a superb attacking show for the fans, fast hands and solid defences keeping things well-balanced while both looked for the punch that could halt the contest early. The 25-year-old Argentine launched a big right in the fourth that almost did just that, but Savon returned even stronger, looking imperious in the closing stages to secure an incredible 23rd win of his WSB career and seal a 4-1 win for the visitors.