Resorts World Las Vegas - Puerto Rican sensation Xander Zayas (14-0, 9 KOs) picked up the NABO junior middleweight title with a fifth-round knockout over rugged veteran Elias Espadas (22-5, 15 KOs).

Zayas started very fast as he knocked down Espadas with a left hook in the opening round.

He was willing to stand toe to toe with Espadas, as they traded punches. But as the contest played out, Zayas was wearing Espadas down with hard shots and then finished the fight in the fifth with a sweeping right hand.

Espadas, a 10-year pro, was stopped for the first time in his career.

Zayas picks up a regional title that he hopes will bring him one step closer to securing a world title fight in the near future. Zayas is hoping to return at least one more time before the year is out.

Zayas said, “I feel amazing. I’m glad to be back with a strap around me, a regional title, something amazing. It’s special to me to bring my first belt to the island. It's a step closer to my goal of becoming world champion."

During the fight, Zayas was warned several times for low blows, but he denies the punches were intentional to break his man down.

“I promise it wasn’t intentional. I wasn’t trying to hit him low. I guess the punches were just landing there. Referee {Russell Mora}, I want to thank him. He gave me a chance. I just listened to the corner, and they told me, ‘Hey, forget about the body.’ Let’s get these head shots and then we’ll start working the body. And that’s what we did in round four on," Zayas said.