Sonny Conto made it well worth the wait.
A heavyweight clash with Waldo Cortes came a quick and violent halt as South Philadelphia’s Conto scored a 1st round knockout in their ESPN+ televised opener Saturday from Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The bout was scheduled twice before, including a planned Feb. 20th clash in Las Vegas which was canceled the day of the fight when Cortes tested positive for COVID-19.
Conto was forced to withdraw from their planned clash last June after suffering an injury during sparring, while having also tested positive for COVID later in the year. The 25-year-old heavyweight prospect didn’t show any signs of ring rust on Saturday, working his jab to push Phoenix’s Cortes (6-4. 3KOs) around the ring in the early going. The weapon set up the fight’s final sequence, a laser right hand which landed clean on Cortes’ chin to put him down and out as referee Gary Ritter reached the count of ten at 1:41 of round one.
Conto improves to 7-0 (6KOs), as he plans to resume his prior role as talented heavyweight for hire. Conto was previously best known for helping World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury prepare for his rematch with then-unbeaten heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder last February. He will now work with 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist Filip Hrgoviç who is ready to open camp for an IBF heavyweight title eliminator versus Michael Hunter.
The bout served as the televised opener of a seven-fight preliminary undercard on ESPN+ and one of five heavyweight fights spanning two broadcasts across ESPN platforms. The show precedes an ESPN telecast, headlined by the vacant WBO light heavyweight title fight between Joe Smith Jr. (26-3, 21KOs) and Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox