By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada - For the vacant WBO NABO featherweight title, Oscar Valdez (19-0, 17KOs) made a statement with a fourth round TKO of former IBF world champion Evgeny Gradovich (21-2-1, 9KOs).
Gradovich was pressing forward, throwing his usual punches in bunches but Valdez was making him miss and then making him pay with a good jab that was followed by hard counters. Valdez was more than willing to mix it up at times when the two of them were at close range, but he was mostly staying on the back-foot and countering.
Gradovich suffered a bad cut over his right eye during the second round and his face was starting to swell up on both sides. During the fourth, Valdez decked Gradovich with a hard bomb. Gradovich made it up, but the referee felt that he had taken enough punishment and stopped the fight.
In first bout of the 'No Trump' HBO Pay-Per-View undercard, WBC Continental Americas junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez (16-0, 12KOs) won a ten round unanimous decision over Manuel Perez (25-12-1, 6KOs). The scores 97-93, 98-92 and 99-91.
Ramirez, who is trained by Freddie Roach, had to work hard for the win. Perez was very game, took a lot of punches and never stopped coming forward. There were plenty of exchanges with Ramirez landing the harder and more accurate punches.