Luis Alberto Lopez made the first successful defence of his IBF featherweight title with a remarkable fifth-round stoppage of Michael Conlan in Belfast.
The Mexican hushed the home crowd at the SSE Arena with a stunning uppercut to plant the Irishman flat on his back with 1:53 remaining in the round.
The loss is Conlan’s second in four outings following his last-gasp defeat to Leigh Wood in Nottingham last year.
Despite making a fast start which saw him target the body of Lopez, Conlan opted to stand in front of the Mexican in the second.
The champion began to bring his right uppercut into play, enjoying success with the shot in the second before hurting Conlan in the third.Embed from Getty Images
Although the Irishman was having success of his own, his refusal to move out of range once he had got his shots off meant he was an easy target for the Mexican’s own flurries.
Conlan still appeared hurt in the fourth and insisted on trading with Lopez in the centre of the ring, often coming out the worst of the two as the levels in power began to show.
Lopez’s shots were clearly impacting Conlan who was struggling to put a dent in his opponent and would have surely been better suited looking to box off the back foot.
The pivotal moment came in the fifth when Lopez slipped a right uppercut under the Irishman’s guard, leaving Conlan sprawled on the canvas.
Trainer Adam Booth immediately threw the towel in to signal the end of the contest leaving Conlan pondering his next move after his second loss in 15 months.Embed from Getty Images
Staying with the featherweight division, Liverpool’s Nick Ball secured a twelfth-round stoppage off South Africa’s Ludumo Lamati to make it seven wins inside the distance in his last eight.
Lamati looked to collapse in the ring moments after his corner threw in the towel and was quickly taken to hospital.
The 31-year-old did fortunately appear to be responding to the medical care he was receiving in the ring.
Ball looked to be breaking Lamati down the longer the contest drew on, with the latter’s corner pondering whether to pull their man out at the end of the tenth.
The fight continued however and Ball moves one step closer to securing a shot at world honours in the near future.Embed from Getty Images
Elsewhere on the card, Belfast super-featherweight Anthony Cacace secured a comfortable unanimous decision win against Poland’s Damian Wrzesinski after twelve rounds.
Dublin super-lightweight Pierce O’Leary also landed a first-round stoppage of Romanian Alin Florin Ciorceri.