By Francisco Salazar
The pushing and shoving from Friday's weigh-in between Nico Hernandez and Szilveszter Kanalas carried over into Saturday night's bout. It was Hernandez though who ended matter early.
Hernandez battered and stopped Kanalas in round one at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas, not far from his hometown of Wichita.
There was bad blood from the weigh-in, when Kanalas leaned forward and stuck his face into Hernandez's during the traditional face-off, prompting Hernandez to push Kanalas away. Cooler heads prevailed when both fighters were separated by their respective team members.
The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist last fought in Mulvane on Mar. 25 of last year, when he made his pro debut, stopping Patrick Gutierrez in round four.
Hernandez (5-0, 4 knockouts) had a height and strength advantage, putting that to work in his favor almost immediately after the opening bell. Kanalas was hurt by a left hook, eventually getting dropped by a barrage of punches.
Kanalas was able to beat the count, but was dropped again to the canvas, prompting an immediate stoppage at 2:53.
After the fight, Hernandez, who won a minor world title belt, called out former Olympian and amateur standout Paddy Barnes of Ireland. Barnes (5-0) is also unbeaten as a pro.
Kanalas (14-8, 9 KOs), who resides in Pecs, Hungary, has now lost six of his last eight bouts.
Heavyweight prospect Oleksandr Teslenko also remained unbeaten on the KO Boxing card, stopping Terrance Marbra (9-6, 7 KOs) at 1:47 of the second round.
Teslenko (13-0, 11 KOs), who is originally from the Ukraine and now resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has stopped his last four opponents.
Heavyweight Andrey Afonin (6-0, 3 KOs) of Russia stopped Pedro Julio Rodriguez after the end of the second round. Rodriguez (23-5, 19 KOs) has now lost four of his last five bouts.
Featherweight prospect Victor Morales (9-0, 5 KOs) dominated David Berna of Hungary early and often, earning a technical knockout victory after the end of third round. Morales has won his last three bouts by knockout, while Berna (16-4, 15 KOs) has lost two of his last three contests.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing