Junior welterweight Alberto Puello dropped Cristian Coria twice en route to a knockout victory in round six at the Hotel Catalonia Malecon Center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
With the victory, Puello (18-0, 10 knockouts), who resides in nearby San Juan de la Maguana, retains an interim WBA world title belt.
Last Thursday night, marked Puello’s first fight since July 27 of last year, when he defeated Jonathan Alonso of Puerto Rico in a clash of unbeaten fighters.
Coria had been out of the ring longer than Puello, having not fought since winning by knockout over Joel Diaz on February 10 of last year.
The southpaw Puello dropped Coria about a minute into round one, landing a left to the body followed by a sweeping left cross to the head. Coria was not visibly hurt and continued to fight on.
The shorter Coria continued to be game, but Puello landed the more-effective punches throughout the fight. Moments before the end of round 6, Puello landed a left hand to the body, dropping Coria to the one knee. Coria barely beat the count, but referee Oscar Pena waved the fight off at 3:00.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to fight given I hadn’t fought throughout the year because of the (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Puello, who is promoted by Shuan Boxing’s Belgica Pena. “When I dropped him to the body in round 1, we decided to add that to our game plan. I was able to find a rhythm. I realized there was no danger as I took his best punches.”
Coria, who resides in Famailla, Argentina, drops to 29-8-2, 13 KOs.
Former world junior bantamweight titleholder Tomas Rojas (52-19-1, 34 KOs) was announced the winner early in round 10 after Ranfis Encarnacion was disqualified for hitting Rojas in the back of the head.
Rojas, who resides in Veracruz, Mexico, lost by unanimous decision in his last bout on March 7 to unbeaten Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov of Russia. Rojas had lost his previous three bouts.
Encarnacion last fought on September 23, losing by knockout to unbeaten featherweight prospect Vic Pasillas.
The southpaw Rojas was the superior fighter, outboxing and outlanding Encarnacion throughout much of the fight. As the bout progressed, Encarnacion became more frustrated, holding onto or putting his weight onto Rojas.
About 30 seconds into round 10, as Rojas spun around during a clinch, Encarnacion hit Rojas in the back of the head. Rojas went down face-first to the canvas, where he remained motionless. Referee Oscar Perez Carbonell initially was going to deduct two points from Encarnacion, but ended up disqualifying him after Rojas’ trainer ran into the ring to tend to Rojas, who received medical attention until he was able to sit up under his own power minutes later.
Encarnacion, from San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic, drops to 17-2, 13 KOs.
Also on the Shuan Boxing card, Norbelto Jimenez defeated Marvin Solano by unanimous decision. No official scores were announced
Jimenez is best known for challenging for a world title belt at 115 pounds twice, the first which took place in December 2014, fighting to a split-decision draw against then-WBA titleholder Kohei Kono. The 29-year-old challenged for the WBA title again on June 29 of last year, losing to then-titleholder Khalid Yafai by unanimous decision.
In his previous fight on March 6, Jimenez fought to a split-decision draw against unbeaten Aliu Bamidele Lasisi.
Jimenez was the busier and more-effective fighter throughout the fight. Solano, who defeated former world title challenger Dewayne Beamon in his previous fight on November 16 of last year, was game, willing to stand in the pocket and trade, but was countered by the shorter and sharper punches from Jimenez.
Solano, who resides in Managua, Nicaragua, drops to 23-5, 8 KOs.
Former world lightweight title challenger Alfredo Santiago stopped Tony Gomez in the opening round.
The win over Gomez marked Santiago’s first fight since his unanimous decision loss to WBC titleholder Devin Haney on November 9 of last year. Santiago, who was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and now lives and trains in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, was dropped in round 5 by Haney.
The 33-year-old Gomez entered the Santiago fight having won his previous six bouts.
About midway through opening round, the taller Santiago dropped Gomez with a right-left combination to the head. Gomez beat count, but was dropped again by a left right uppercut combination to the head. Gomez beat the count, but was staggered by another combination, prompting referee Oscar Perez Carbonell to stop the fight at 2:32.
Gomez, who resides in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, drops to 13-8-1, 7 KOs.
Junior featherweight prospect Luis Reynaldo Nunez dropped Nicaragua’s Giovanni Gutierrez (10-2-1, 6 KOs) twice en route to a knockout win at 1:56 of round 4. Nunez improves to 10-0, 8 KOs.
Junior featherweight prospect William Encarnacion improved to 19-1, 15 KOs, defeating Donny Garcia by unanimous decision over six rounds. No scores were announced.
The 37-year-old Garcia drops to 16-9, 5 KOs and has now lost his last eight bouts.
Junior lightweight Juan Carlos Pena bounced back from a knockout loss in his previous fight on January 31 by stopping Jael Mate (6-9, 5 KOs) at 1:02 of round 2.
The fight was a rematch of their clash in April 2016, which Pena (31-2, 23 KOs) also won by knockout in round 2. Mate has now lost his last eight bouts.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing