NEW YORK – Ali Akhmedov didn’t even need a minute Saturday night to get rid of Andrew Hernandez.
A right hand by the super middleweight prospect nailed Hernandez on the side of his head and sent him to one knee and his gloves just 22 seconds into a fight that was scheduled for 12 rounds. Hernandez got up, but referee Eddie Claudio didn’t think he was fit to continue.
Claudio declared Akhmedov the winner just 44 seconds into the first round on the Gennadiy Golovkin-Sergiy Derevyanchenko undercard at Madison Square Garden.
Kazakhstan’s Akhmedov, 24, upped his record to 16-0 and produced his 12th knockout against Hernandez (20-7-2, 9 KOs, 2 NC). Phoenix’s Hernandez, 33, was stopped inside the distance for the fourth time in his nine-year career.
In the bout before Akhmedov’s victory, Brooklyn-based welterweight Brian Ceballo remained unbeaten by stopping Ramal Amanov in the third round.
Ceballo (11-0, 6 KOs) landed lefts and rights on Amanov before referee Arthur Mercante Jr. stopped the action because Mercante sensed Amanov suffered an injury around his right eye. A ringside physician examined Amanov before the start of the third round, which made Mercante keep a close eye on him as soon as the third round began.
Miami’s Amanov (16-1, 5 KOs) landed three straight left hands within the first 70 seconds of the third round, but Ceballo continued landing hard shots to his head and body. Amanov pawed at his eye and seemingly did not want their schedule eight-round junior middleweight match to continue.
Just before Ceballo’s win, Polish middleweight contender Kamil Szeremeta stopped Oscar Cortes in the second round of a scheduled eight-rounder.
Szeremeta dropped Cortes with a left hook toward the end of the first round. Cortes answered referee Benjy Esteves’ count, though, and completed that round.
Poland’s Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs) then knocked down Mexico’s Cortes (27-5, 14 KOs) early in the second round with an overhand right that landed flush. He appeared to hit Cortes twice – first with a right, then with a left – after Cortes went down to one knee.
Cortes rolled around on the canvas, seemingly to sell Szeremeta’s fouls. Esteves still stopped their fight 45 seconds into the second round.
Earlier Saturday night, the highly anticipated pro debut of Irish light heavyweight Joe Ward came to an unusual, unfortunate conclusion Saturday night.
Ward, a southpaw, took an awkward step backward while trying to avoid a punch from Marco Delgado early in the second round. The decorated amateur’s left leg buckled under him and he couldn’t continue due to a serious knee injury that left him writhing in pain.
Claudio declared Delgado the winner by technical knockout exactly one minute into the second round of a scheduled six-rounder.
Delgado, of Anaheim, California, improved to 6-1 and produced his fifth knockout, albeit unconventional.
In the first fight Saturday night, hard-hitting middleweight prospect Nikita Ababiy needed just one minute and 45 seconds to stop Isiah Seldon in a super middleweight match that also was scheduled for six rounds.
Brooklyn’s Ababiy hurt Seldon badly with a right hand and finished him off with a left hook that left him unable to continue. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. began to count, but quickly realized Seldon was badly hurt.
Ababiy, 20, improved to 7-0 and recorded his sixth knockout. Seldon (13-3-1, 4 KOs), of Somers Point, New Jersey, is the son of former WBA heavyweight champ Bruce Seldon.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.