Carlos Gongora’s first title defense was much easier Saturday than his previous fight.

The Ecuadorian southpaw picked apart Christopher Pearson, dropped him in the eighth round and knocked him out to retain his IBO super middleweight title. A left hand by Gongora caused Pearson to take a knee with 57 seconds to go in the eighth round.

Pearson beat referee Frank Gentile’s count, but his severely swollen right eye caused Pearson to take another knee. He didn’t get up before Gentile counted to 10 after taking that second knee.

Gentile stopped their scheduled 12-round, 168-pound championship bout at 2:17 of the eighth round on the Demetrius Andrade-Liam Williams undercard at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Gongora (20-0, 15 KOs) made the first defense of the IBO 168-pound championship he won by upsetting Ali Akhmedov in his previous fight. Pearson (17-3, 12 KOs), of Selma, Texas, didn’t throw many punches against Gongora and lost by knockout for the second time as a pro.

The previously unknown Gongora overcame early difficulty, including a fourth-round knockdown, to batter Kazakhstan’s Akhmedov (16-1, 12 KOs). Gongora dropped Akhmedov twice in the final round and won by 12th-round knockout December 18 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The action-packed brawl between Gongora and Akhmedov was one of’s runners-up for “Fight of the Year” in 2020.

Pearson surprised Gongora with a straight left about 25 seconds into the eighth round. A more active Pearson clipped Gongora with another straight left with just over a minute to go in the eighth.

The fight ended soon thereafter, once Gongora dropped Pearson with that aforementioned left hand.

Gongora continued to pick apart Pearson with jabs and left hands during the seventh round.

Pearson complained to Gentile in the opening minute of the sixth round about Gongora leading with his head. Gongora landed a right hook to Pearson’s body almost 1:20 into the sixth round.

Gongora blasted Pearson with a left uppercut as Pearson was backed into the ropes late in the sixth round.

Gongora caught Pearson with a straight left at the midway mark of the fifth round. The champion remained in control throughout that round, when he threw many more punches than Pearson.

A left by Gongora backed up Pearson with just over a minute to go in the fourth round.

Gongora consistently pumped his jab in the third round. He also caught Pearson with an overhand left just before the third round ended.

Gentile warned Gongora after the third round for hitting Pearson behind his head.

Gongora’s left to the side of Pearson’s head rocked the challenger with just over a minute remaining in the second round. The champion was the busier, more accurate fighter throughout that second round.

Gongora worked well off his jab in the opening round. A straight left by Gongora landed with just over a minute to go in that first round.

A left-right combination by Gongora knocked Pearson off balance later in the first round.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.