TRUJILLO ALTO, Puerto Rico -- Two of the top boxing prospects in Puerto Rico came out victorious via knockout on Saturday in their native country.
Flyweight prospect Jonathan Gonzalez drew one step closer to a top 10 ranking when he scored a TKO victory against Joseph Rios in the "Future Champions" card at the Ruben Zayas coliseum.
Felix Verdejo improved to 4-0 with three KOs when he stopped Mexican Martin Quezada 51 seconds into the second round.
With a hard right hook, Gonzalez opened a deep cut over Rios' left eye that forced the stoppage in their fight at 1:01 of the third round.
"We worked hard for this. We didn't hurry and the knockout came," Gonzalez said after the fight. "I thought the knockout would come because we are all human. I knew he was a strong boxer and I even felt his punching power in the second round. But my style was much better than his, and thanks to that I came out on top."
With the victory, Gonzalez improved his record to 12-0 with 11 KOs and is scheduled to return to the ring May 18, according to Peter Rivera, Gonzalez's manager and chief executive of Puerto Rico Best Boxing Promotions.
Rios (13-8-2, 4 KOs) looked strong early, but was dissected by Gonzalez's hooks, one of which almost sent Rios down at the end of the second round.
Verdejo dropped Quezada with an uppercut in the first round and then dropped him one more time before referee Ramon Navedo stepped in end the fight.
"I was surprised that so many people came to see me with such short time as a pro," Verdejo said after the fight. "I came to box because we knew that he was a tough opponent."
The former Olympic fighter is considered one of Top Rank's top prospects and is expected to get back in the ring April 13, on the Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux card at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Also in the card, junior welterweight John Karl Sosa won a unanimous decision over Samuel Santana to improve his record to 6-0 with 4 KOs.