Junior welterweight contender Ismael Barroso scored a devastating one-punch knockout victory of Nestor Paniagua in the opening round late Saturday night at the Four Ambassadors Hotel in Miami, Florida.

With the victory, Barroso improves to 23-3-2, 21 knockouts.

Barroso, who turned 38 this past Wednesday and holds the WBA Gold title, last fought in December 2019, defeating Canada’s Yves Ulysse, Jr. by unanimous decision. He has won his last three bouts after losing to Isa Chaniev and Batyr Akhmedov, respectively in 2018.

Paniagua was game from the opening bell, but Barroso’s thudding punches were taking their toll. Midway through the opening round, the southpaw Barroso landed a right hook to the body, followed by a sweeping left cross to the head, dropping Paniagua face-down on the canvas. Paniagua remained motionless as referee Alan Abales counted him out at 1:43.

Paniagua remained motionless on the canvas for several moments, but was able to sit on a stool and eventually was able to get up on his feet.

According to manager Osmiri Fernandez before the fight, he hopes Barroso will be able to earn a world title shot by fighting in an elimination bout or be the mandatory challenger to face current titleholder Josh Taylor. Barroso, who is originally from El Tigre, Venezuela, now lives and trains in the Miami area.

Paniagua, who resides in Santa Fe, Argentina, drops to 26-11-2, 17 KOs.

In the co-feature bout that ended up being the best fight of the night, junior middleweight Mekhrubon Sanginov defeated Quincy LaVallais by split-decision.

One judge scored the bout 76-75 for LaVallais, while the other two judges scored the bout 77-74 and 76-75 for Sanginov.

Originally from Tajikistan and now resides in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Sanginov was coming off a knockout victory over Cleotis ‘Mookie’ Pendarvis in round 4 on November 20.

Both fighters had their moments during the first half of the fight. While it looked as though Sanginov had the upper hand in the fight, LaVallais swung momentum his way by stunning Sanginov midway through round 4 with a counter right cross to the head. Sanginov looked as though he was in a hole in round 5 after he was deducted a point for repeatedly pushing down on the back of LaVallais’ head.

Sanginov was the aggressor, but Lavallais was able to slip counter left and right hands to the head of Sanginov. Both had their moments during the final round, where both stood in the pocket and exchanged several times before the bell sounded to end the fight.

LaVallais, who resides in Kenner, Louisiana, drops to 10-1-1, 5 KOs. He is best known for defeating Clay Collard in his last bout on December 12.

Junior lightweight prospect Otar Eranosyan stopped fringe contender Juan Carlos Pena in round 4.

Pena (31-3, 23 KOs), who resides in Villa Gonzalez in the Dominican Republic, was game, but Eranosyan landed the more-effective and powerful punches. Midway through round 4, a left hook to the body dropped Pena to the canvas. Pena beat the count, but was dropped again from another left hook to the body. Pena attempted to get up, but was counted out by referee Samuel Vargas at 2:23.

Eranosyan improves to 5-0, 3 KOs. The 27-year-old is originally from the country of Georgia and now resides in Miami Beach.

Fringe welterweight contender James Bacon defeated Argentina’s Ramon De La Cruz Sena (23-28-3, 14 KOs) by decision over 10 rounds. All three judges scored the bout 100-90 in favor of Bacon, who improves to 26-4, 17 KOs. Bacon, who resides in Cebu City in the Philippines, has fought his last three fights in the Miami area.

In a clash of unbeaten light heavyweights, Juan Carrillo (4-0, 2 KOs) defeated Khainell Wheeler of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 58-56 for Carrillo, who resides in Barranquilla, Colombia.

In his pro debut, Kozimbek Mardonov was successful in his pro debut, dropping super middleweight journeyman Marcelo Ruben Molina of Argentina three times before ending matters at 1:53 of the second round.

Cruiserweight Andrey Mangushev, who is originally from Moscow, Russia, defeated gatekeeper Milton Nunez (37-26-1, 32 KOs) of Colombia by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Mangushev, who improves to 4-0, 3 KOs. Both fighters now reside in the Miami area.

Saturday night marked the first card of 2021 for B&R Boxing Promotions.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.