By Marc Livitz Oscar Valdez grabbed the vacant NABO featherweight title this evening as he soundly pummeled and landed leather at will on Evgeny Gradovich en route to a fourth round knockout victory.
Valdez (19-0, 17 KO’s) showed remarkable footwork from the opening bell. The two time Mexican Olympian moved again and again as he used the entirety of the ring. Evgeny did his best to run his motor early but found Oscar to be a very hard read. By the end of the first, Gradovich (21-2, 9 KO’s) retuned to his corner with a cut over his left eye. Valdez opened the second with successive, hard body shots. He seemed to be a step ahead of "The Russian Mexican" at every turn and understood the need to land and move. Another cut close to the left eye of Gradovich affirmed the strategy even further and the end of the second. His face was severely reddened with a
mixed shade of blood and exhaustion.
He was doing his best to get to his undefeated adversary from Nogales, Sonora, MX., but Valdez was able to counter as well as stump his efforts. Going into the fourth round, Gradovich appeared to be showing some desire to change his tactics by way of increasing his output. He jabbed a bit more but as before, found Valdez to be as calm as ever. Gradovich’s face was beginning to swell on the right side and with just under a minute to spare, a hard right which didn’t land squarely on the head was followed by a savage left hook straight to the face.
Evgeny, who was beaten and visibly broken by this time, slumped to the canvas. Referee Russell Mora took a quick look at him and called the fight to a stop at the 2:14 mark of round four. Oscar Valdez improved to nineteen wins against no losses with the knockout win and left the ring the NABO featherweight belt.
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April 9, 2016