ORLANDO – Orestes Velazquez continued to shine in his home away from home.
The Miami-based Cuban picked up his third wins in as many fights at Caribe Royale Orlando, the latest in an eighth-round stoppage of Mohamed Soumaoro. Neither fighter went down but Velazquez landed a game-changing right hand to ignite a rally that forced referee Imelda Santos to stop the fight at 2:19 of round eight in their DAZN-aired bout Saturday evening from the all-resort venue in Orlando, Florida.
Most of the fight was spent at close quarters, which allowed early success for Soumaoro, a Montreal-based Guinean prospect who managed to land chopping right hands. Velazquez was often quicker to the draw but had to adjust his defense to avoid two-way exchanges on the inside, of which Soumaoro appeared to get the better in a high-contact round two.
Velazquez began to target the body while mixing in combinations upstairs. The right hand for the ‘Black Buffalo’ wasn’t as effective in the middle rounds, as Velazquez used infighting skills and slick footwork to avoid much of the incoming.
Action slowed in round six, as Soumaoro smothered Velazquez’s offense in absence of effective counter shots. Velazquez rattled off a four-punch combination, but his momentum was stalled as the final minute of the round was marred by frequent clinches.
Soumaoro put forth a more earnest effort in round seven. He worked his way inside with a jab but could not put the right hand home behind it. Velazquez connected with a soft combination and a looping right hand as chants of ‘Cu-Ba’ filled the intimate ballroom.
Velazquez found the opening he sought all night midway through round eight. A right hand left Soumaoro (13-2, 6KOs) staggered, at which point Velazquez unloaded a barrage of punches. Soumaoro did his best to evade the incoming rally but was unable to convince the referee that he could any longer defend himself.
The wins sent Velazquez’s record to 8-0 7KOs), which came six months after he went the distance for the first time in a March 25 points win over Marcelino Lopez on the David Benavidez-Caleb Plant undercard in Las Vegas.
Headlining the show, Brooklyn’s Richardson Hitchins (16-0, 7KOs)—a 2016 Olympian for Haiti and rising contender—and former title challenger Jose Zepeda (37-3, 28KOs; 2NC) meet in a scheduled 12-round junior welterweight bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox