Marques Valle waited eight months before finally making his pro debut but didn’t waste any time once he arrived on stage.
The former amateur standout and blue chip welterweight stopped Jernato Harris in the 1st round of their preliminary bout Friday evening at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida.
Valle scored two knockdowns, the latter which prompted a stoppage at 1:33 of round one.
There was no feeling out process or having to transition from amateur to pro mode for Valle, who went right to work in making his presence felt. The 21-year old from Wesley Chapel—roughly 90 minutes from Kissimmee—immediately took the fight to Harris, flooring him early with a left hook to the body.
Harris (0-2) managed to beat the count, but was unable to keep his hunter at bay. Valle continued to pour on the attack, landing a combination to send Harris to the canvas for a second time. Referee Chris Young had seen enough by that point, waving off the contest at 1:33 of the opening round.
The bout marked the first piece of ring action for Valle, who advanced to the quarterfinal round in the 2020 Olympic Trials last December in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The end of his Olympic dream became the start of a new journey, as he signed a managerial contract with Split-T Management's Tim VanNewhouse.
Georgian middleweight Nikoloz Sekhniashvili remained perfect as a pro, following a 4th round stoppage over Alexis Gaytan.
Traffic was all one way in their preliminary bout. Sekhniashvili—managed by Peter Kahn—floored Gaytan in the opening round and again in round four. Gaytan (7-7, 3KOs) beat the count both times, but was defenseless after the second knockdown. Sekhniashvili (7-0, 5KOs) went on the attack, unloading with power shots until the referee stopped the contest late in the 4th round.
Both bouts served in supporting capacity to a regional welterweight title fight between Antonio ‘Tono’ Moran (24-4-1, 17KOs) and Luis ‘Muecas’ Solis (25-10-4, 21KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox