Luis Alberto Lopez did it again Saturday night.
The determined Mexican knocked out Michael Conlan in the fifth round of their IBF featherweight title fight at The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Lopez’s impressive victory was his second in his opponent’s hometown in less than six months.
The Mexicali, Mexico native caught Conlan with a vicious right uppercut that knocked Conlan flat on his back. Adam Booth, Conlan’s trainer, immediately threw in the towel, which caused referee Michael Alexander to stop their scheduled 12-round, 126-pound championship match at 1:14 of the fifth round.
The 29-year-old Lopez (28-2, 16 KOs) made the first defense of an IBF belt he won when he defeated Josh Warrington by majority decision in their 12-round bout December 10 at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England, Warrington’s hometown.
“I hope all the world champions [in] the featherweight division are ready for ‘Venado’ Lopez,” Lopez said. “I’m coming for all of them. I want all their belts. One by one, I’m taking all their belts with me to Mexico.”
The 31-year-old Conlan (18-2, 9 KOs) lost by knockout in a featherweight title fight for the second time in 14 months.
Leigh Wood knocked out the 2016 Olympian in the 12th round of their fight for Wood’s WBA belt in March 2022. Conlan closely led Wood on all three scorecards entering the 12th round of their fan-friendly fight, but Wood’s right hand knocked him unconscious and out of the ring at Motorpoint Arena in Wood’s hometown of Nottingham, England.
Lopez took out Conlan seven rounds earlier Saturday night. The champion pressed the action and landed various head and body shots that broke down Conlan and set up the challenger for the aforementioned knockout shot.
A round before their fight ended, Conlan made the fourth round more competitive than a one-sided third round for Lopez, but Lopez still landed the more punishing punches in the fourth round.
Lopez blasted Conlan with a right uppercut and a left hand that enabled him to then unload a barrage of power punches on Conlan in the final minute of the third round. Lopez’s onslaught punctuated a dominant third round for the defending champion.
Lopez landed a hard left to Conlan’s body about 1:15 into the third round. Lopez countered Conlan with a left barely 20 seconds into the third round.
A right-left combination by Lopez stopped Conlan in his tracks with a little less than 30 seconds remaining in the second round. Conlan backed Lopez into a corner and clipped him with a right hook with about 1:15 to go in the second round.
A straight left by Conlan made Lopez take a step backward a little less than a minute into the second round. Lopez’s right connected barely 30 seconds into the second round.
Conlan landed a right hook with just over 20 seconds remaining in the first round, when Conlan was the more accurate puncher.
Conlan connected with three left hands to Lopez’s head and a left to his body within a 10-second span just after the halfway mark of the first round. Conlan went southpaw as soon as their bout began, but Lopez pressed the action in the first round and backed up Conlan.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.