Vergil Ortiz Jr. Scores First-Round TKO Victory Over Frederick Lawson

Vergil Ortiz Jr. has notched a convincing victory…

The 25-year-old Mexican American professional boxer scored a first-round TKO victory on Saturday in Las Vegas in a stoppage that was vehemently disputed by his opponent, Frederick Lawson.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.Ortiz, in his first fight in 17 months, buckled Lawson with a jab that backed him up. With Lawson lying on the ropes, Ortiz (20-0, 20 KOs) threw a flurry of left hooks to the body and overhand rights until referee Tony Weeks halted the action at 2 minutes, 33 seconds of the opening round.

Weeks told DAZN‘s Beto Duran that he stopped the bout because he saw Lawson’s eyes roll into the back of his head. Lawson, a 34-year-old Ghanaian who entered the fight as a huge underdog, passionately protested.

“I think that he got saved,” said Ortiz, who was making his junior middleweight debut. “I was hurting him with all the jabs. I wasn’t really putting anything behind it. … I love to fight. I wish I could have kept going. I need the rounds.”

Since March 2022, Ortiz has withdrawn from three fights due to health issues related to rhabdomyolysis, a condition that occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood.

Ortiz was rated No. 3 by ESPN at 147 pounds when he was set to meet Eimantas Stanionis last year. That bout was postponed three times; first after Stanionis underwent an emergency appendectomy and then twice due to Ortiz’s rhabdomyolysis recurrence.

With his health restored, Ortiz returned Saturday at a 156-pound catchweight shake-off-the-rust bout. And he did so with renowned trainer Robert Garcia back in his corner following a split in 2021.

Ortiz, a Dallas-area native, maintained his perfect knockout record with the victory over Lawson (30-4, 22 KOs). Now he wants his first world title shot.

“I’m ready for anyone out there,” said Ortiz, whose breakout 2021 campaign featured inside-the-distance wins over Maurice Hooker and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. “It feels like I’m back to doing what I usually do. This is my calling; this is what I live for.”

Ortiz called out Tim Tszyu, the WBO junior middleweight champion.

“With all respect, I would love to fight you,” Ortiz said in his call out. “I think you’re a hell of a fighter and let’s make this happen. … I want to fight the best.”

Ortiz’s promoter, Hall of Fame fighter Oscar De La Hoya, said Ortiz “will even go to Australia to fight Tim Tszyu.”

Tszyu, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, issued a response to Ortiz in a post on X, welcoming him to the 154-pound division and saying, “I’m always keen for a modern day classic.

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