By Jake Donovan
It was never going to be a fight that would directly lead to a title fight, but that didn't stop Marco Antonio Periban from treating his latest ring appearance as a live audition.
The 31-year old super middleweight from Mexico racked up his third straight win, knocking out Ghana's Joshua Okine in three rounds Saturday evening in Veracruz, Mexico.
A packed house of more than 7,000 in attendance at Auditorio Benito Juarez saw Periban have his way with Okine (28-5-1, 17KOs), who had won nine straight but was fighting for the first time since 2013 and moving up in weight. It was a horrible combination for the visiting southpaw, who was never competitive at any point in the Televisa-televised main event.
Periban closed the show with a vicious right uppercut that put Okine down and out early in round three. The win runs his record to 23-3-1 (15KOs), having won all three of his fights in 2015.
Should he get his way, the desired first order of business for 2016 will be a rematch with reigning super middleweight champion Badou Jack. It remains a pipe dream for the moment, but Periban and his team - including Promociones del Pueblo, with whom he signed earlier this year - are eager to return to the title fray.
Jack is more likely to next defend against another Mexican challenger, former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Still, there is history between the Las Vegas-based Swede and Periban, as the two fought to a draw in Sept. '13.
Looking back, it turned out to be the high point of a four-fight winless stretch for Periban. Losses to Sakio Bika, J'Leon Love and James DeGale put his career in turmoil, but has since rebounded with a trio of confidence building wins in 2015.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox