DALLAS—The Garcia family commanded all of the attention this week, though Felix Alvarado sent an emphatic reminder of the other brotherly act on the show.
A pair of knockdowns and a swarm of pressure propelled Nicaragua’s Felix Alvarado to a 10th round stoppage of DeeJay Kriel to defend his junior flyweight title.
Alvarado floored Kriel in rounds two and four, with an accumulation of punishment leaving Kriel unable to defend himself. Referee Mark Calo-oy stepped in to stop the contest at 1:39 of round ten Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Both boxers entered following lengthy layoffs, including more than eight months in waiting since their originally scheduled fight date from last April. With the rescheduled affair came Alvarado’s first career fight in the United States and under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, joining twin brother Rene Alvarado who defends his 130-pound title in a rematch versus Venezuela’s Roger Gutierrez in the evening’s chief support.
“My conditioning was key,” Alvarado told BoxingScene.com after registering the second defense of his junior flyweight belt. “I knew I had to apply pressure from the start. It came to me early and I began wearing him down with body punches to get the knockout.”
Kriel sought to gain the upper hand in the opening round, determined to spoil the family affair. The former strawweight titlist from Gauteng, South Africa—who now trains in Las Vegas under the guidance of former light heavyweight contender Derrick Harmon—connected with right hands while smartly applying pressure against Alvarado, who struggled to find his rhythm in the early going.
That would change in a hurry just one round later.
Alvarado scored the bout’s first knockdown, a clean left hook which floored Kriel early in round two. Kriel beat the count but ate a long overhand right mere moments later as he was forced to clinch. Alvarado spent most the round keeping the challenger pinned against the ropes, working the body while on the inside.
Relentless pressure was applied by Alvarado in round three, catching Kriel with a right hand and left hook while constantly moving forward. Kriel took the shots well, though too clean for his corner’s liking as he was urged to offer more movement and keep the fight in the center of the ring.
Another left hook-induced knockout came early in round four. Alvarado caught Kriel with his chin in the air, sending the 25-year old the canvas for the second time on the night. Kriel once again dusted himself off and fought back, though he struggled to defend against Alvarado’s left hook and straight right hand.
The furious pace offered by Alvarado slowed just a touch in round five, to the benefit of Kriel though not enough to swing momentum in his favor. Alvarado reseized control in round six, pouring on the pressure with a series of power shots upstairs late in the frame.
Kriel was able to be first to the punch in round seven, though still contending with steady pressure from the defending titlist. Alvarado buried his shoulder in Kriel’s chest, with much of the action spent on the inside and both boxers landing to the body. Kriel was able to find enough distance to work his jab and right hand.
Action moved to center ring early in round eight, much to the delight of Kriel’s corner as their charge continued to target the body as Alvarado’s punch output momentarily decreased. The pace picked up for the defending titlist later in the frame, ending the session with body work while forcing Kriel to the ropes.
Alvarado had Kriel in trouble in the closing moments of round nine, landing a series of right hands upstairs while Kriel was once again pinned to the ropes. Time was called at the start of round ten for the ringside physician to briefly examine the challenger before allowing the bout to continue.
It wouldn’t last much longer. Kriel was once again up against the ropes and no longer able to defend himself as Alvarado stayed on the attack. Power punches continued to fly before the fight was mercifully halted.
Kriel’s bid to become a two-division titlist ends in despair as he falls to 16-2-1 (8KOs). The loss ends a 17-fight unbeaten streak, having last suffered defeat in his pro debut.
Alvarado soars to 36-2 (31KOs) with the win, his first since a 12-round decision over Reiya Konishi in May 2019. The overall damage was evident in final CompuBox statistics—Alvarado landed 296-of-800 punches (37%), including a frightening 44% connect mark on 277-of-625 power punches. Kriel landed just 159-of-944 total punches (17%).
Nearly 20 months of inactivity was not at all evident in his latest showing, clearly inspired by fighting on the same show as his twin brother.
“This meant so much to me, for Rene and me to be able to proudly represent Nicaragua,” Alvarado noted. “It was a dream of ours to be able to do this and I’m honored that Golden Boy Promotions made it happen on such a big show.”
Alvarado-Kriel served in supporting capacity to the interim lightweight title fight between Ryan García (20-0, 17KOs) and England’s Luke Campbell (20-3, 16KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox