Orlando Salido stopped Orlando Cruz in the seventh round in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Cruz, from Puerto Rico, the first openly gay fighter in professional boxing, failed in his bid to win the WBO featherweight title.
Salido dominated throughout and put Cruz away with a right hand to the chin and a left to the body after a heavy exchange of power blows. Cruz went down face first and referee Kenny Bayliss stopped the fight.
The result pushed Salido's record to 40-12-2, with 28 knockouts. Cruz’s fell to 20-3-1.
"I went into the corner and he hit me with a good shot," Cruz said. "I thought the fight was close up until then. It was going back and forth."
The reality was Cruz, wearing rainbow trunks to promote gay rights, was never really in the fight, landing just the occasional blow and clearly being stung by the ferocity of Salido's combinations and body shots.
The Mexican, however, was magnanimous in his praise for the 32-year-old Cruz. "He is strong and fast, and I had to fight with intelligence and put a lot of pressure on him," Salido said.
"This is the biggest moment of my life. My career has been like a roller coaster. I've had my ups and downs, but it’s great to be back on top. It's a very big win."
The WBO title was vacant after Miguel Angel Garcia was stripped of the belt when he failed to make weight for his first defence against former champion Juan Manuel Lopez in August. Garcia had won the belt from Salido in January.
The 32-year-old Salido is a former IBF and WBO champion but was well beaten when he fought Mickey Garcia in January this year.
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