By Jake Donovan
Rising super bantamweight Neslan Machado picked up the biggest win of his young career, doing so in devastating fashion as he forced former bantamweight contender Christian Esquivel to quit on his stool after two rounds of one-sided action.
The 19-year old prospect was charged up fighting in front of a partisan crowd in his adopted hometown of Miami, Florida. Esquivel was supposed to provide experience and durability, but his punch resistance was nonexistent against the buzzsaw-like Machado, who scored knockdowns in each of the first two rounds.
Esquivel looked to be done following the second round knockdown, courtest of a right hook to the temple. He somehow made it to his feet, but never made it off his stool prior to the start of round three as his corner informed referee James Warring that their fighter was through for the evening.
Despite the bell having sounded to begin round three, the official verdict is knockout at 3:00 of round two.
Machado improves to 10-0 (8KOs) with the win, just his second of 2015. The Cuban export has struggled to find willing opponents in and around his weight class. With the talent he possesses and the manner in which he's stepping up in class, contenders will eventually have to look his way as he is certainly one to watch.
In earlier action, Turkish light heavyweight Avni Yildirim (6-0, 4KOs) prevailed in his first scheduled 10-round bout with a win over aged former light heavyweight king Glen Johnson.
Scores were 96-94 twice and a far too wide 99-91 in favor of Yildrim, who had never previously fought beyond round four of any given fight, but looked to be the real deal, even if the 46-year old Johnson (54-21-2, 37KOs) is well past his best and has now lost three straight.
Helping fill up the telecast - which aired live on TeleAmerica Canal in Miami, and streamed live on its website - was one of the biggest upsets of 2015, even if it will likely fly way under the radar. Previously unbeaten light heavyweight Alptug Oener (8-1, 4KOs) was drilled in three rounds by Oklahoma clubfighter Zachariah Kelley (5-11, 5KOs).
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox