Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0), one of the top up-and-coming welterweights, staked his claim for his first career world title by defeating Egidijus Kavaliauskas (22-2-1) via 8th round knockout. As a result, Ortiz retained his WBO International Welterweight title in his first defense.
Ortiz won the WBO international welterweight title via seventh-round KO over Maurice Hooker in March, it was his first victory against a former world champion.
He is one of the most powerful fighters in the welterweight division with all of his 18 wins coming by knockout. Incredibly, this was Ortiz’s first fight past the seventh round and only the fourth to make it past the sixth round.
In December 2019, Kavaliauskas suffered the first loss of his professional career against the WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford.
Kavaliauskas put up a competitive fight seeming to hurt Crawford in the second round. Crawford looked to go down from a punch, but the referee didn’t rule a knockdown. After nine rounds, Bud was able to score a win via technical knockout.
After a standard first round that saw both fighters feel each other out, the action picked up in the second round. Kavaliauskas seem to hurt Ortiz with a right-hand counter, forcing him to hold as he tried to get his legs back under him.
Kavaliauskas went on the attack, sending Ortiz to the floor. But like in his Crawford fight, it did not count as a knockdown. Ortiz recovered well and seemed to stun Kavaliauskas but it was not to score the round in his favor.
As round three began, Ortiz began to establish his jab being cautious of counter punches from Kavaliauskas. Toward the end of the round, Ortiz turned the fight in his favor scoring a knockdown from a left jab. Kavaliauskas beat the count and was able to make it out of the round.
It was at the midway point of the 8th round that saw Ortiz take one step closer to gaining the victory dropping Kavaliauskas with a jab to the liver. Ortiz dropped him three more times in the round with the final knockdown coming with one second remaining in the round.
In his post fight interview, when Ortiz was asked if he was ready for a fight against Bud Crawford, he simply answered “yes.”