Lightweight contender Javier Fortuna made quick work of journeyman Rafael Hernandez in the opening round Sunday evening at the Pabellon de Esgrima Centro Olimpico in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Fortuna, who is originally from the Dominican Republic and now resides in Braintree, Massachusetts, improves to 37-3-1, 26 knockouts.
From the opening bell, Fortuna was the aggressor, throwing and landing wide hooks and crosses to the head of Hernandez. With about a minute left in the round, Fortuna dropped Hernandez to a knee from a combination to the head.
After beating the count, Hernandez tried to fight back, but continued to eat several vicious punches from Fortuna. A barrage of punches dropped Hernandez again, this time against the ropes. Referee Smailyn Valdez waved the fight off at 2:49.
Sunday marked Fortuna’s first fight since losing by unanimous decision to Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz on July 9 in Los Angeles. Fortuna was originally scheduled to fight Ryan Garcia, but ended up facing Diaz after Garcia withdrew from the fight to deal with mental health issues.
Hernandez, who resides in Caracas, Venezuela, drops to 32-15-3, 25 KOs. The 38-year-old has now lost four of his last six bouts.
In the co-feature, former unified junior middleweight titleholder Jeison Rosario dropped Jesus Perez twice en route to a knockout win in round four.
Rosario, who is originally from the Dominican Republic and now resides in Miami, Florida, improves to 22-3-1, 16 KOs.
Now fighting at middleweight, Rosario was on the offensive from the opening bell, forcing Perez to fight off his back foot. Towards the end of round 2, Rosario landed a right cross to the head, dropping Perez to the canvas. Perez beat the count, but Rosario was not able to follow up as the bell sounded to end the round.
The southpaw Perez was game and connected the occasional punch to Rosario’s head, but Rosario utilized his strength and aggression to connect more punches. Midway through round 4, a right cross to the body hurt Perez. Rosario followed up, battering Perez until referee Oscar Pena stepped in to stop the bout at 2:14.
Rosario has now won back-to-back fights since losing by knockout to Jermell Charlo in a unification bout in September 2020. In January of that same year, Rosario stopped Julian Williams to win the IBF and WBA junior middleweight title belts.
Both Fortuna and Rosario are promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz.
Perez, who resides in Valencia, Venezuela, drops to 12-6-1, 9 KOs.
Two hard-hitting prospects who reside in Santo Domingo won by knockout in their respective fights.
In a clash of unbeaten junior middleweights from the Dominican Republic, Raul Garcia stopped Francisco Sanchez (12-1-1, 9 KOs) at 2:29 of the opening round. Garcia improves to 7-0, 6 KOs.
Junior welterweight Esteuri Metiver improved to 10-0, 9 KOs by knocking out Venezuela’s Kenin Betancourt (13-9, 10 KOs) at the beginning of round 5.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing