SAN ANTONIO – Rashidi Ellis had hoped to make a more significant statement in his Premier Boxing Champions debut Saturday night.
Once his more formidable opponent pulled out of their scheduled 10-rounder on very short notice, the welterweight contender was left to face a journeyman just to end his lengthy layoff. The 29-year-old Ellis made quick work of Jose Marrufo, whom Ellis dropped twice on his way to a first-round technical knockout on the Mark Magsayo-Rey Vargas undercard at Alamodome.
Ellis (24-0, 15 KOs), a Lynn, Massachusetts, native who fought for the first time since October 2020, first floored Marrufo with a right hand approximately 1:15 into their scheduled eight-round junior middleweight match. Marrufo reached his feet, but Ellis dropped him again, this time with a left hook that sent Marrufo to the canvas with 1:09 remaining in the first round.
A determined Marrufo got up again, but Ellis unloaded power punches on him that led to their fight being stopped at 2:18 of the first round, while Marrufo remained on his feet.
Ellis was supposed to box Argentina’s Alberto Palmetta, but Palmetta (17-1, 12 KOs) withdrew from their bout during fight week. Palmetta reportedly suffered a back injury, which required promoter Tom Brown to find a replacement on very short notice.
Marrufo (13-11-2, 1 KO) has lost three of his past four fights, but his lone win during that stretch came against unbeaten Angel Rodriguez in the bout before he lost to Ellis. Rodriguez took a 10-0 record into an eight-round fight he decisively lost unanimously to Marrufo on January 29 in Pomona, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.