Mike Coppinger

Fortuna scores highlight-reel KO against Zamudio

It was clearly a mismatch from the start.

With a single overhand left from hell, Javier Fortuna turned out the lights on Miguel Zamudio.

One of the sport’s hottest rising fighters, Fortuna came out with reckless abandonment, perhaps trying to prove something after his listless performance last December on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez telecast, and scored a clear candidate for Knockout of the Year.

After Fortuna (22-0, 16 knockouts) planted his outgunned opponent early in the frame, he charged towards Zamudio with a whirlwind of fury and rendered his foe unconscious, as referee Eddie Cotton didn’t bother to count and called it off at 1:08 of the first round.

Zamudio (25-2-1, 13 knockouts) laid on his back for several minutes before finally being carried out of the ring on a stretcher, a scary scene for those in attendance at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, N.J., as well as those watching at home on ESPN2.

“I think the fight went well and as I planned. This fight is dedicated the memory of my father (who recently passed away),” Fortuna said through Nathan Lewkowicz, the son of his promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz. “I am just upset about the weight and promise that will never happen again.”

Fortuna, THE RING’s No. 9 126-pounder, missed the featherweight limit of 126 at Thursday’s weigh-in and was forced to relinquish his WBA interim title. Fortuna’s promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, said that the 23-year-old Dominican plans to stay at featherweight moving forward (unless it’s for the right fight) and will reach the level of another one of his prized fighters.

“Fortuna will be the clone of (Sergio) Martinez in three years,” said Lewkowicz. “I believe he will be the opening bout of a HBO World Championship Boxing or Showtime Championship Boxing after this fight. He wants to challenge any 126-pound champion including Mikey Garcia, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Nicholas Walters and non-champions like Gary Russell — he will beat them all. And he will go to 130 to face Juanma (Lopez) and (Yuriorkis) Gamboa.”

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