Some thought Vergil Ortiz Jr. was biting off more than he could chew when he faced former title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
Some were wrong.
Though hurt in round two, Ortiz came back to dominate and stop Kavaliauskas in round eight at the Ford Center in Frisco, TX, Saturday night.
The opening round was all about respect. Both fighters jabbed. Ortiz, with his hands high, landed a few. Kavaliauskas came out faster in the next heat.
He fired combinations. Ortiz [18-0, 18 KOs] connected with an inside uppercut – a left and right followed. Kavaliauskas stunned Ortiz with an uppercut. He wobbled as Kavaliauskas followed up with shots. Ortiz went down, but the referee called it a slip. Ortiz fired back at the bell.
In round three, Kavaliauskas [22-2-1, 18 KOs] stalked. Ortiz bobbed and fired jabs and right hands. Kavaliauskas calmly ducked the shot. He kept working, as did Ortiz. Suddenly, a right and left combination put Kavaliauskas on the seat of his pants. He got up with a shocked look on his face.
Ortiz,23, fired more power shots in round four. Fully recovered from being knocked down, Kavaliauskas moved forward, looking to fire his deadly uppercut or counter right. Ortiz landed several hard jabs to the belly and head. In round five, Ortiz kept working his jab. He landed a lead right. Kavaliauskas was having a hard time reaching Ortiz. Kavaliauskas needed to do something in round six. He did less than a minute in, connecting with a right.
Ortiz landed a three-punch combination. Staying disciplined, Ortiz kept jabbing. Kavaliauskas likely stole the round with activity. Kavaliauskas jabbed, and Ortiz countered in round seven. Ortiz continued to score with a stiff left hand. He also landed a huge right near the end of the stanza.
In round eight, Ortiz was caught by a right. His jab stopped Kavaliauskas in his tracks. A body shot hurt Kavaliauskas badly. Ortiz came in for the kill. He worked downstairs, but seconds later came upstairs with a wicked left hook that sent Kavaliauskas down for the third time. The explosive Ortiz floored Kavaliauskas two more times until the referee waved the fight off.
Time was 2:59 in round eight.
“I think I did alright,” said Ortiz. “We’re only going to get better.”
Source: John J. Raspanti