Jose Zepeda has emerged as a future challenger to Josh Taylor with a confirmed first-round exit against Jose Vargas on Saturday night in New York.
Zepeda retained his WBC Silver Super Lightweight title and No. 3 ranking with the governing body to further his case to fight the undisputed British champion, who must first tackle Jack Catterall on his return to Scotland on February 26, live on Sky Sports.
Zepeda leveled Vargas with a big hitter inside the first round.
Vargas wiggled as he rose, never looking solid on his feet – Zepeda approached him and hit him in the corner, with the referee quickly ending the fight.
Crowds in New York fell largely into stunned silence as hometown favorite Vargas, a Puerto Rican based in the Bronx, was beaten down very quickly.
Zepeda and Vargas’ weightlifter 24 hours before had erupted into a thorny standoff with punches thrown but their fight was a one-sided domination.
Zepeda from California explained his desire to take on Taylor: “Yes, 100 percent. I’ve already fought his last opponent, Jose Ramirez. It’s going to be a good fight but I’m ready for it.”
“I am 32 and at my height, I want the WBC title.
“I want all the belts. I’m ready for it. You showed it.”
Vargas said, “He grabbed me with a good left hand, and I tried to recover, but I think I got up too quickly. That’s what happened. In general, I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m healthy. I won’t stop from here. It’s until the next day.”
Carlos Carabalo’s undefeated streak was ended by Jonas Sultan in a slow fight featuring five knockouts combined.
Puerto Rican’s Carabalo was making his New York debut in front of a large number of his countrymen, but was beaten to the ground five times by Sultan, who won by unanimous decision of 10 rounds.
Sultan scored the first knockout in the second round, then another in the third, but Carabalu returned the favor before ringing the bell with a quick throw.
Sultan Carabalu sent to the board again in the sixth and ninth games to score a surprise and reduce the crowd to an awkward silence.
Sky sports boxing schedule
November 6 – Top ranked in Las Vegas
Michaela Mayer vs. Maeva Hamdoush – IBF and WBO . Super Featherweight Titles
November 6 – BOXXER in Liverpool
Ultra Lightweight Championship
November 20 – BOXXER in London
Richard Ryakborh vs. Olanriwago Dorodolla
Caroline Dubois’ professional debut
November 20 – Top ranked in Las Vegas
Terence Crawford vs. Sean Porter – WBO Welterweight Championship
December 11 – Boxer
Clarissa Shields vs. Emma Cusin
December 11 – highest ranking in Las Vegas
Vasily Lomachenko vs. Richard Comey
December 17 – highest ranking in Montreal
Artur Beterbiev vs Marcus Browne – Lightweight IBF and WBC titles
February 26 – highest ranking in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs. Jack Caterall – The Undisputed Ultra Lightweight Title