Doug Fischer

Gonzalez stops Mtagwa in second round

Jhonny Gonzalez, THE RING’s No. 8-rated featherweight, retained his WBC title with a second-round stoppage of faded veteran Rogers Mtagwa in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday.

Gonzalez (50-7, 44 knockouts), who turned 30 on Thursday, rocked Mtagwa with a series of hooks midway through the second round before backing the rugged Tanzanian into the ropes where he zeroed in with his straight right. Mtagwa (27-14-2,19 KOs) survived the Mexico City native’s initial assault but was hurt again with body-head combinations near the end of the round, prompting the referee to wisely halt the bout with the Philadelphia resident helpless against the ropes at 2:15 of the round.

“I felt that I needed to end the fight early because I knew it could get dangerous,” said Gonzalez.  “It looked easy, but it wasn’t.”

It’s clear that Mtagwa, once one of the toughest hombres in the junior featherweight and featherweight divisions, is now a spent bullet, the victim of too many ring wars. However, Gonzalez, who recently took on hall-of-fame trainer Nacho Beristain, is exhibiting the best form of his 12-year career.

The former bantamweight titleholder has now won 10 consecutive bouts — all by knockout — since suffering a shocking third-round stoppage to WBC 122-pound beltholder Toshiaki Nishioka in May of 2009. Gonzalez won the WBC featherweight title with an impressive fourth-round stoppage of Hozumi Hasegawa in April.

“I’m ready for the best in the division,” said Gonzalez, “and I will let my promoters figure out who is best for me to fight next.”

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