By Jeff Zimmerman at ringside
IBF lightweight champ Felix Alvarado (36-2, 31 KOs) from Managua, Nicaragua retained his title with a show stopping performance against the tough, former IBF minimumweight champ DeeJay Kriel (16-2-1, 8 KOs) from Gauteng, South Africa with a 10th round TKO stoppage. Alvarado, the twin brother of Rene who is also showcased on the Golden Boy Card, dropped Kriel in the second and fourth rounds before connecting with multiple powerful right hands in the tenth with Kriel against the ropes in his own corner, that forced referee Mark Calo-oy to stop the back and forth slugfest.
The strong Alvarado swarmed Kriel at the opening bell and landed big shots to the head and body as Kriel did all he could to keep Alvarado off of him. Kriel spent the early rounds on the ropes and looked like Alvarado was going to end the fight early, but between the fifth and eighth rounds, Kriel was mixing it up on the inside and the outside as Alvarado seemed to tire. Kriel had championship experience in his corner, with former champs Derrick Harmon and Bones Adams, that seemed to pay off as the fight went on.
But in the ninth round, Alvarado turned up the heat and once again put the pressure on Kriel and punctuated the round with a big right hand that obviously hurt Kriel. And finally, in the tenth of the scheduled twelve, Alvardo continued to find success with his powerful right hand, before the fight was stopped. Time was 1:39.
Alvardo will now see if his twin brother could duplicate his efforts and retain his title with a rematch against Roger Gutierrez. They are the first brothers in the long history of boxing in Nicaragua to hold world titles at the same time, a country that includes the legendary Alexis Arguello and current pound for pound great and future hall of famer Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
“I knew this would be a tough fight,” said Felix Alvarado. “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’m very happy to obtain this win because it is a dream come true for the Alvarado brothers to fight on such a big card together. I want any of the other world champions so I can show who is the best in the division.”