Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona - In by far the toughest test of his young career, Ashton Sylve destroyed the vastly more experienced Braulio Rodriguez, dropping him with a stinging left uppercut with around a minute left in the first round. Rodriguez tried to get up but stumbled. When he finally rose, he wobbled backward, causing referee Tony Zaino to waive it off at 1:01 of the first round of their eight-round lightweight bout.

Sylve (8-0, 8 KOs) kept his knockout streak alive, earning his third first-round knockout of his career, which started in October 2020, while Rodriguez dropped to 20-5.

“First round KO - I can go a few more rounds,” Sylve said. “Come back here and put another show on.”

The first prospect signed by MVP Promotions, the 18-year-old Sylve kept his composure as the big-swinging Rodriguez cornered him and tried to land a haymaker. But it was Sylve who sliced a left hook in between Rodriguez’s shots that caused the damage.

Sylve was economical in his destruction – he landed a total of three punches, according to CompuBox, with his second punch hurting Rodriguez and his third finishing him off. A former amateur star, Sylve stopped Rodriguez faster than super lightweight contender Ryan Garcia, who needed five rounds to do so.

“I’m speechless,” Sylve said afterward. “I grew up under the spotlight, but this is something else. I’m ready for whatever comes next and I’m loving life right now. I don’t care who comes next. I just want the belt. There is nothing I want more than that right now.”

Sylve of Long Beach, Calif., walked to the ring in a Minions outfit, and he compared his surprising performance to the unexpected effect of Minions, whose small stature bely their powers, he said. 

“I love the movie Minions,” Sylve said. “But at the same time, it’s inspirational. You never would think the Minions do what they do. And I don’t think people would think an 18-year-old would come out here and put a performance on like this with a veteran, experienced fighter.”