The notion heading in to this week’s Friday Night Fights offering was that the crafty veteran Cristobal Cruz would give hot super featherweight prospect Javier Fortuna the first real test of his young career.
If you call what happened a test, then Fortuna passed with flying colors. The youngster battered Cruz for about five minutes, before stopping him for good at 2:22 of the second round.
It was as picturesque a knockout blow as one is likely to see. Fortuna (19-0, 14 knockouts) drew Cruz in, forcing him to wing and reach with an overhand right. He simply took a slight step back to avoid the punch, and countered with a quick left cross that sent his opponent face first, pancaked on the canvas.
To his credit, Cruz (39-13, 23 KOs) came to his senses and got to his feet, but referee Robert Byrd saw both a bloodied face from the knockout punch and the proverbial writing on the wall that indicated the fight shouldn’t continue.
The knockout marks the second consecutive spectacular performance on ESPN2 for Fortuna, after starching Yaundale Evans in the first round back in April.
In the night’s opener, up and coming heavyweight Magomed Abdusalomov overwhelmed Maurice Byarm en route to a second-round TKO as well.
Abdusalomov (15-0, 15 KOs) almost forced a stoppage at the end of the first round when he pinned Byarm (13-2-1, 9 KOs) in a corner and pummeled his fellow southpaw (who foolishly just stood and covered up) until the bell.
The Oxnard, Calif.-based Russian dropped the still-woozy Philadelphia native at the start of the second round and quickly overwhelmed Byarm against the ropes. Referee Tony Weeks waved the bout off 36 seconds into the round.