By Francisco Salazar
Bantamweight contender Antonio Nieves stopped Szilveszter Ajtai in the second round late Saturday night at the Firebird Athletic Center in Bedford, Ohio.
Nieves, who resides in nearby Cleveland, improves to 17-0-2, 9 KOs. Ajtai, who entered the bout unbeaten in six fights, falls to 10-3-1, 5 KOs.
Nieves dropped Ajtai with a left hook to the body. Ajtai, who is originally from Hungary, struggled to get to his feet and the bout was stopped at 46 seconds.
Ranked number five by the WBO at 118 pounds, Nieves is targeting a showdown with WBA titleholder Rau’shee Warren.
“The goal has always been to become a world champion,” said Nieves after the fight. “I’d love to fight for the WBO championship and bring that belt back to the United States. The dream fight would be a unification fight with Warren. I would love an All-American, All-Ohio match-up with a great fighter like Rau’shee.”
“We fought in the amateurs back in 2011 when I only had fours’ notice. While we have always respected him, the next time we meet, there will be a different result and a different winner.”
“Antonio did what he was supposed to do as one of the world’s best 118-pound fighters,” said promoter Dmitriy Salita. “That body shot he landed was one that few fighters could withstand. He’s in perfect shape and ready for his world title shot, which we are looking to secure for him in the near future.”
Heavyweight Keenan Hickman (5-1, 2 KOs) knocked out prospect Ray Edwards (12-1-1, 7 KOs) at 2:55 of round four.
Lightweight Thomas Mattice (6-0, 4 KOs) remained unbeaten, defeating Eliseo Cruz (9-3-1, 6 KOs) by unanimous decision over six rounds.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com 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, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing