NEW YORK -- If 19-year-old blue-chip junior lightweight prospect Felix Verdejo keeps scoring knockouts like the one he had on Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall, he's going to become a very popular fighter.
Already with growing popularity in his native Puerto Rico, Verdejo, a 2012 Olympian, had a big cheering section during the undercard of the Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux junior featherweight unification fight and did not disappoint en route to a crushing first-round knockout of Steve Gutierrez (4-4-1, 2 KOs) of Fort Worth, Texas.
"I'm excited to be part of this Radio City event, and what makes it special is I was the first Puerto Rican to [win] at this venue," Verdejo said through a translator.
Verdejo (5-0, 4 KOs), who won two Olympic bouts before losing in the quarterfinals to eventual gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine, went right after Gutierrez and had him grabbing on almost immediately. Then Verdejo -- 104-17 as an amateur -- landed a wicked overhand right and Gutierrez went down on a delayed reaction.
When the fight resumed, Verdejo landed three flush shots, including a brutal left uppercut, and Gutierrez dropped face-first as referee Steve Willis called it off immediately at 1 minute, 50 seconds.
"We worked very hard in the gym working the body and I noticed when I hit him to the body he brought his arms down and it opened up the chin, and that's how I finished him," Verdejo said. "Our plan was work the body, and we executed the plan."
According to CompuBox statistics, Verdejo landed 19 of 32 power shots (59 percent) while Gutierrez landed just 1-of-9 total punches.
• Light heavyweight Sean Monaghan (18-0, 11 KOs), a popular ticket seller from Long Beach, N.Y., knocked out Dion "Rex" Stanley (11-5, 5 KOs) of Kansas City, Mo., with a clean overhand right at 1:51 of the first round. Stanley tried to get to his feet but was wobbly and looked as though he had injured an ankle, and referee Harvey Dock stopped the fight.
• Junior lightweight prospect Toka Kahn-Clary (5-0, 4 KOs), 20, of Providence, R.I., plowed through Gadiel Andulez (4-5-1, 2 KOs) of Puerto Rico, scoring three knockdowns en route a one-sided 92-second knockout. After the third knockdown, referee Dock immediately waived off the fight.
• Philadelphia super middleweight prospect Jesse Hart (6-0, 4 KOs), 23, scored a violent third-round knockout of Marlon Farr (2-2, 0 KOs) of Zephyrills, Fla. Hart, the son of 1970s middleweight contender Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, dropped Farr moments earlier in the round, and referee Arthur Mercante Jr. allowed him to continue even though he looked in bad shape. Hart, a standout amateur and 2011 National Golden Gloves champion, walked right to him and landed a brutal four-punch combination, knocking Farr out as he fell between the ropes and was half inside the ring and half on the apron as Mercante called it off at 1:33.
• Junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia (18-0, 10 KOs), 23, of Paterson, N.J., rolled to an easy shutout decision against Puerto Rico's Joseph De Los Santos (13-12-3, 6 KOs). All three judges had it 80-72 as Tapia did as he pleased.
• Junior middleweight Tyler Canning (2-1, 0 KOs) of Lander, Wyo., claimed a split decision against New Yorker Dario Soccia (2-1, 0 KOs) in a hard-fought four-rounder. Canning got the nod 39-37 on two scorecards with one judge giving Soccia the fight by the same score.
• Canadian welterweight prospect Mikael Zewski (19-0, 15 KOs) blew out Daniel Sostre (11-9-1, 4 KOs) of New York, dropping him with an onslaught of punches for referee Mercante's full count at 49 seconds of the second round. Sostre had also been down earlier in the round. Zewski will be back in action May 25 on the Jean Pascal-Lucian Bute undercard in Montreal on May 25.
• Detroit junior lightweight Eric De Leon (3-0, 1 KO) laid a beating on Diamond Bair (2-5-1, 0 KOs) of Phoenix in a shutout four-round decision, winning 40-36, 40-36 and 40-34 in the first fight of the card.