Xander Zayas turned the pressure of fighting in his hometown into a net positive.

The first career home game ended spectacularly for the South Florida-based Boricua, who scored a fifth-round knockout of Spain’s Jorge Fortea. Zayas scored two knockdowns, the latter which produced the full ten count to end the fight at 1:37 of round five Saturday evening at Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Zayas was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico but moved to South Florida as a child with his family. He graduated in 2020 from nearby Plantation High School and now resides in Sunrise, less than 30 minutes from the fight venue.

It was close enough to draw an adoring crowd, for whom he delivered a complete performance. Fortea entered the fight armed with a three-fight win streak and just one stoppage defeat through 27 pro fights.

The threat of an early night arose near the close of round one. Zayas connected with a body shot which caused Fortea to drop to a knee. The visiting Spaniard beat the count and made it out of the round.

Zayas was poised in the ensuing rounds as he continued to target the body. It reaped dividends in the end.

A left hook under the high guard of Fortea produced the bout’s second knockdown. Fortea remained on the canvas as referee Samuel Burgos reached the count of ten.

It was arguably the most complete performance to date for the 21-year-old Zayas, who connected on 92-of-285 total punches (32.3%) as he advanced to 18-0 (12KOs). The win was his third of 2023, which began with a minor setback as he was unable to commit to an April 1 fight due to injury but is since on a roll.

Zayas-Fortea was the co-feature of an ESPN-televised doubleheader. Headlining the main ESPN card, double Olympic Gold medalist and current WBO featherweight titlist Robeisy Ramirez (13-1, 8KOs) attempts his second defense versus Guadalajara’s Rafael Espinoza (21-0, 18KOs).

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox