Jade Bornea has punched his way into title contention.

The unbeaten junior bantamweight is now in line for a shot at the IBF junior bantamweight title following a sensational third-round knockout of Mohammad Obbadi. A left uppercut to the midsection by Philippines’ Bornea forced Morocco’s Obbadi—now based in Italy—to the canvas in a delayed reaction knockdown, taking the full count at 1:25 of round three of their final title eliminator Friday evening at Arena Jose Sulaiman in Monterrey, Mexico.

Action was steady in the early going, with Bornea imposing his will and working the body out of his southpaw stance. Obbadi was able to land his straight right hand with authority, often in reactionary mode but enough to force Bornea to readjust.

Bornea took the lead in round two, landing the more telling blows and more mindful of Obbadi’s heavy hands. Action picked up in round three, with Bornea landing right hooks but leaving himself open for straight rights from Obbadi as the two engaged in spirited exchanges.

The fight took a drastic turn midway through round three. Bornea connected with a right hook to freeze Obbadi along the ropes, following up with a left uppercut to Obbadi’s right rib cage. Obbadi (22-2, 13KOs) took a moment before doubling over and taking a knee, where he remained for the full ten count.

Bornea now storms into the number-one slot in the IBF junior bantamweight rankings. He will have to wait his turn for a shot at countryman and reigning titlist Jerwin Ancajas, who has a busy first half of 2022 already scheduled.

Ancajas will next face Argentina’s Fernando Daniel Martinez likely on the February 26 Showtime card headlined by WBA ‘World’ junior lightweight titlist Roger Gutierrez in a mandatory title defense versus Chris Colbert. A win by Ancajas will leave him poised for a rescheduled title unification clash with WBO junior bantamweight champ Kazuto Ioka, which as BoxingScene.com previously reported is agreed upon to take place in May or June.

Bornea-Obbadi served as the chief support of a five-fight card headlined by local hero and former unified strawweight titlist Francisco ‘Chihuas’ Rodriguez (34-5-1, 24KOs) in a ten-round junior bantamweight battle versus Tijuana’s Arnulfo Salvador (15-1-1, 9KOs). The show aired live as part of ESPN Knockout in Latin America, and also streamed live on Probellum’s website and YouTube channel.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox