With two more impressive highlight-reel knockouts on their resumes, Demetrius Andrade and Hank Lundy are ready for whoever’s willing to accept the challenge in their respective weight classes.
Andrade (22-0, 15 KOs) stopped Argentinian Dario Fabian Pucheta (20-3) at the 50-second mark of the second round Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) International Junior Middleweight Title in the main event while Lundy disposed of Carlos Winston Velasquez (23-22-1) 23 seconds into the fifth round of the co-main event to bring home the World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas Lightweight Crown.
The dual main event headlined CES Boxing’s “Gold Standard” card, promoted in association with Banner Promotions and Star Boxing.
Fighting for the first time in 16 months, Andrade – the former world title-holder in the WBO – made quick work of Pucheta, sending him to the canvas twice in the opening round, the first time courtesy of a straight left hand and again just seconds later with a right uppercut. Already on wobbly legs, Pucheta gave it a go in the second round, but Andrade laid him out flat with another right, sending the pro-Andrade crowd into an uproar.
Andrade will now vault back into the WBO rankings, where he says he’s ready for the “big boys” at 154 pounds, whether that’s World Boxing Association (WBA) junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara, WBC middleweight champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, or anybody else in that weight class.
“Everybody else can get the big fights. Why can’t I get the big fights?” Andrade said. “Lara calls out Delvin Rodriguez and he gets that fight, but I can’t get Lara. He can go in and barge in on Canelo’s press conference and get that fight. Why can’t I get the same thing? I called him a bitch, nationally!
“No disrespect to any fighter because anyone who gets in that ring, I have high respect for, but it’s time for me to showcase what I really have against the guys everyone thinks is No. 1.”
Showing no signs of ring rust, Andrade came out firing Saturday and could get his shot real soon.
“This layoff, I just took the time to get better physically, spiritually, mentally, just all around, to be better myself,” he said. “Once I found out I was fighting September 17th, I always keep the synthetic oil in, but I had to get the motors running again. Here we go, man.”
For Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs), this is familiar territory. The former North American Boxing Federation (NABF) and North American Boxing Organization (NABO) lightweight champion and former No. 1 contender in the WBC, Lundy has settled back into the 135-pound weight class following a brief stint at 140 and also hopes to contend for a world title by the end of 2015.
He, too, came out fast Saturday, dropping the scrappy, tough Velasquez in the second round and again at the bell in the fourth, but Velasquez refused to quit. He continued to eat lefts and rights and even jawed with Lundy during exchanges, practically charging at his opponent after picking himself up off the canvas at the end of the fourth.
Seeking his first win in three fights, Lundy finally ended it in the fifth with another trademark flurry, backing Velasquez into the corner before the referee stopped the fight.
What’s next for “Hammerin’” Hank?
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring in December,” Lundy said. “Our mission this year is to stay busy, stay active, get that world title, and that’s what I’m going to do.
“Now I’m back at 135 and you see the punching power, you see the hand speed. No one is going to stop us.”
Lundy suffered back-to-back losses to Thomas Dulorme and Mauricio Herrera at 140 and also had a bout with Petr Petrov scrapped when he failed to make this 135-pound weight limit taking the fight on eight days’ notice. On Friday, he clocked in at a lean 134, removing any doubt as to whether or not he can still fight at lightweight.
“I’m still a lightweight,” he said. “They threw me under the bus. They didn’t give me credit for taking a fight on short notice, but I showed you today. I came in at 134. I think I was a little lower than that, but the commission didn’t want to show that off!
“What it is, before I was going up and down in weight, but now, as a veteran, we’re eating and living right. I have a mentor, Bernard Hopkins. When you have an icon around like that who lectures to you, you have no choice but to take it and feed off it. I’m living proof.”
Unbeaten Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (10-0, 7 KOs) kept his perfect record and his knockout streak intact, stopping South Carolina’s Kevin Cooper at the 1:33 mark of the second round.
Cooper succeeded where Gray’s last six opponents failed by making it past the opening round, but not without hitting the canvas courtesy of a left hook in the closing seconds. Cooper made it through the first, but didn’t last much longer in the second. Gray finished the bout with a left uppercut, sending Cooper to his knees. He made it to his feet before the 10 count, but referee Danny Schiavone wisely waved it off. Gray has now won his last seven bouts by knockout, six in the first round.
New Haven, Conn., featherweight Josh Crespo (5-2-3) won for the second time in as many fights, out-working the game Greg Coverson of Detroit to earn a 58-55, 60-53, 60-53 unanimous decision.
Crespo benefitted from a first round knockdown, catching Coverson lunging and countering with a clean left hook. Coverson survived and gained some momentum in the later rounds, but Crespo proved too quick and too elusive.
Unbeaten light heavyweight Nate Millier (7-0-1, 5 KOs) impressed in his United States debut, stopping Queens veteran Borngod Washington 40 seconds into the second round. Millier opened the round with a flurry, backing Washington into a corner and unloaded with wide left and right hooks, forcing Schiavone to give Washington a standing eight count. Washington began complaining of a shoulder during the break in the action and could no longer continue.