It’s a U.S. debut to remember for Felix Alvarado…
The 31-year-old Nicaraguan boxer, making his American debut, scored two knockdowns in a 10th-round stoppage win over DeeJay Kriel to defend his IBF world light flyweight title at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday.
After not boxing at all in 2020, Alvarado — the twin brother of Rene Alvarado — showed that his power marks him out as one of the world’s best at 108 pounds in his second world title defense.
Alvarado (36-2, 31 KOs) served warning with a fast start, and then floored Kriel (15-2-1, 8 KOs), 25, with a left hook that landed flush on the chin in the second round. Kriel admirably survived a torrid minute and a half until the end of the second round, taking a big right hand to the chin in the process.
Alvarado landed an array of shots in the fourth round and deposited the South African on the canvas again with a left hook. But Kriel, a former strawweight titlist and a quality operator, gamely came back firing with fast hands.
Kriel narrowed the points margin in the middle rounds, but he was almost overwhelmed at the end of Round 9 as Alvarado increased the pressure. Alvarado sustained his attack in the 10th round and it was enough to force a stoppage after 1 minute and 39 seconds as he landed a series of unanswered punches.
“I knew this would be a tough fight,” Alvarado said after the bout. “He was a mandatory challenger and a former world champion, so I knew it would be tough. I got a bit tired, but that was because of his experience. I also dropped him with a hook, and I didn’t even expect for a punch like that to land. But rather than keep looking for that punch, I kept pushing him to the ropes to wear him down.
“I want any of the other world champions so I can show who is the best in the division.”