Puerto Rican lightweight contender Felix "El Diamante" Verdejo will not allow his most recent defeat to define the future of his career.

Two weeks ago, Verdejo was knocked out in nine rounds by Japanese slugger Masayoshi Nakatani at the MGM Grand's Conference Center in Las Vegas.

The Puerto Rican fighter is determined to get off the ground again to continue his boxing journey until he conquers that elusive world title.

Verdejo, for now, will take advantage of the next few months to rest and study his most recent fight before planning what the next steps will be.

The loss to Nakatani was the second time that Verdejo had been stopped within the distance. He lost his unbeaten record in March 2018 to Mexican contender Antonio Lozada.

With Nakatani, Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) was ahead on the official scorecards at the time of the stoppage. He dropped Nakatani twice, in the first and fourth. Nakatani was able to recover, rallied in the second half - and dropped Verdejo twice in the ninth to close the show.

"I'm happy with my performance. I realize that I made a good fight although, obviously, it was not the outcome I wanted," Verdejo told Carlos Gonzalez.

"I know that in this sport you have to carry two bags, one to win and one to lose. Sometimes one loses and other times one wins. They saw that I have the potential to fight with the elite and I feel good about that. I am not discouraged because I was doing the job as it was. It was just that a punch came that I did not expect.

"[My trainer was] telling me not to throw such hard punches all the time. [My trainer] Ismael Salas told me that I was throwing hard at all times and it shouldn't have been that way... I should have went little by little, round by round. I understand that if I hadn't been throwing so hard I would have been in better condition in the later rounds. I should have saved my energy better.

"Nakatani was exhausted, he was not the same as he was in the early rounds, but he surprised me with a hurtful punch and I could not recover. On the second knockdown he hit me on the back of the head. I am young, I have the hunger, the desire, the talent and the potential to continue climbing the ladder. A loss does not define a boxer. I will continue to develop until I am a world champion. In January I will start running again to work on physique and condition while I wait for a date."