Puerto Rico Has a New Shining Star in Felix Verdejo

BN-IX351_nyboxi_J_20150614151119Ivan ‘Bam Bam‘ Najera, left, is pinned against the ropes by Felix Verdejo. Verdejo won the bout by unanimous decision. PHOTO: MIKEY WILLIAMS FOR TOP RANK BOXING

By Jim Chairusmi –

Miguel Cotto has been entrenched as the most popular Puerto Rican boxer for the past decade. But he might have some competition for that title. Felix Verdejo is quickly emerging as the sport’s next big star.

At the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, Verdejo (18-0, 13 knockouts) outslugged Ivan Najera (16-1, 8 knockouts) to earn a 10-round unanimous decision. The 22-year-old from San Juan dominated the bout, knocking down the previously undefeated Najera in the fifth and seventh round.

“With right hands to the head, left hooks right down the middle, right uppercuts, overhand rights on the chin, left uppercuts up the middle, the kid showed a powerful arsenal,” HBO analyst Roy Jones Jr. said on the television broadcast of the bout. “He showed every kind of punch you could think of.”

About an hour after the bout, Verdejo answered questions from reporters in Spanish, with an English translator at his side. He expressed satisfaction “with the work we did.”

Over the past decade, Cotto had been a headliner for a Top Rank boxing card at the Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade, including championship bouts in New York against Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah and Joshua Clottey. But with Cotto now signed with Roc Nation Sports, Top Rank is hopeful that Verdejo can fill the void.

“With skill, personality and ring management, he brings a new dimension to the sport,” Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum said.

On Saturday, Verdejo connected with 194 of 487 punches (40%), compared with 101 of 333 (30%) for Najera. But it was the power shots where Verdejo made the most impact, connecting on 138 of 271 (51%) of his power punches, compared with 90 of 232 (39%) for Najera. Two judges scored the bout a 100-88 shutout for Verdejo, while another judge had it 99-89.

“Verdejo’s charisma is outstanding and his ability in the ring is outstanding,” said Top Rank president Todd DuBoef. “You’re probably going to see in the next 12 months that he’ll make a run for the title.”

Verdejo has also drawn comparisons to another legendary fighter from Puerto Rico: Felix “Tito” Trinidad. “Verdejo is very reminiscent of Trinidad,” DuBoef said. “You don’t yet know on the power, but Verdejo has some incredible assets. You want to see him take each step and make sure he is developed correctly.”

Besides sharing the same first name, Verdejo is flattered by the comparison to Trinidad, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014. “It’s an honor to be compared with a star like Tito, someone who gave so much happiness to my country,” he said.

The only thing that didn’t go Verdejo’s way this weekend: he aggravated a left-hand injury that he had initially suffered in December. Verdejo said his hand “was not 100 %” against Najera and that he would see a hand specialist in the coming days.

But before that, Verdejo brighten when he was asked after Saturday’s bout about being featured on a float in Sunday’s parade. “He understood that question,” his English translator said with a laugh as Verdejo nodded and flashed a smile.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/puerto-rico-has-a-new-shining-star-in-felix-verdejo-1434309280?tesla=y

 

Félix Verdejo derrotó sin apuros a Iván Nájera

letrero-de-la-pelea-verdejo                                          Félix Verdejo retuvo su cinturón latino de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) ante Iván Nájera.

Credito fotos:  (tonito.zayas@gfrmedia.com)

El boricua retuvo su cetro latino ligero de la OMB, aunque salió del encuentro con una lastimadura en su mano izquierda.

Por:  Carlos Gonzalez –

Nueva York. Félix “Diamante” Verdejo tuvo un dominante desempeño dentro del ring, pero no fue sin una consecuencia.

El campeón ligero Latino de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) superó por decisión unánime al mexicano Iván “Bam Bam” Nájera en el combate semiestelar de la función que tuvo como escenario el Teatro del Madison Square Garden en lo que fue su primera presentación por HBO. Se informó que Verdejo completó al combate a pesar de que se lastimó la mano izquierda, posiblemente, en el primer asalto.

No es la primera vez que el púgil sufre un percance en un pleito. A principios del 2015, canceló su participación en una cartelera para recibir tratamiento, precisamente, en la mano izquierda. Sin embargo, Verdejo estuvo recuperado para cuando subió al ring el pasado abril.

Aun así, Verdejo completó una brillante demostración dentro del ring. Después de un inicio algo lento, el puertorriqueño apretó la acción desde el segundo episodio. Nájera hizo lo posible por acortar la distancia para así llegar al cuerpo de Verdejo. En ocasiones tuvo éxito, pero se defensa quedó expuesta.

En el cuarto, Nájera conectó mientras agarró a Verdejo. El referí le llama la atención y eso encendió el fuego dentro de Verdejo, quien lo lastima cada vez que puede. Parecía que el combate terminaría por nocaut técnico, pero la campana salva a Nájera. En el quinto, Verdejo conectó un upper cut de derecha que llevó a Nájera a la lona. Fue el primero de dos caídas a favor de Verdejo. La otra fue en el séptimo producto de un gancho de izquierda.

Al concluir los 10 asaltos, Verdejo fue favorecido por los tres jueces con anotaciones de 100-88, 100-88 y 99-89 para una decisión unánime.

Todd duBoef, presidente de la empresa promotora Top Rank, sostuvo que Verdejo será atendido por un especialista la próxima semana para evaluación.

“Sabíamos que (Verdejo) tenía un asunto con la mano que esperamos resolver pronto. Entiendo que hizo una gran pelea. Necesitaba una prueba como la que representó Nájera. Tenemos que ver cómo reacciona cuando tiene que levantarse del banquillo después de ocho asaltos”, reaccionó DuBoef después del combate.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.39.23 PM

El campeón ligero Latino de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) superó por decisión unánime al mexicano Iván “Bam Bam” Nájera en el combate semiestelar de la función que tuvo como escenario el Teatro del Madison Square Garden en lo que fue su primera presentación por HBO.

http://www.primerahora.com/deportes/boxeo/nota/felixverdejoderrotosinapurosaivannajera-1088856/

Verdejo to Hold Public Event tomorrow in the Bronx

l_7b740eb4b65552579e9ec050fb0d6710Felix Verdejo_workout_121204_002a

 

Photo Credit:  Chris Farina / Top Rank –

The boxing gem of Puerto Rico, undefeated #3 world-rated lightweight contender Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo will be celebrating his upcoming HBO Boxing debut by pressing the flesh and throwing some leather for his fans in New York. He will make a two-hour special appearance at The Bronx Cultural Arts Festival (152nd Street, between Jackson and Union Avenues), tomorrow (Saturday, May 30), beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Verdejo will be taking the stage to answer questions followed by a meet & greet session where fans can get his autograph or pose for photos with him. He will end his day at the Festival with an hour-long public workout. “Last year the fans in New York made me feel like I was right at home with all the support and affection I received from them at the Bronx Festival,” said Verdejo. “I’m very happy to go back and share a good time with all my boricuas in New York.”

FELIX VERDEJO BRONX CULTURAL ARTS FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

· 1:00 P.M. Q & A with Fans from Main Stage
· 1:15 P.M. Meet & Greet (Autographs and Photos)
· 2:00 to 3:00 P.M. Public Workout

Verdejo (17-0, 13 KOs), from San Juan, Puerto Rico, will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) International Latino lightweight title against Ivan “Bam Bam” Najera (16-0, 8 KOs), of San Antonio, Saturday, June 13, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The card will also feature World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Nicholas “The Axe Man” Walters (25-0, 21 KOs), of Jamaica, defending his world title against Top-10 contender Miguel “The Scorpion Marriaga (20-0, 18 KOs), of Colombia.Both fights will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark®, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/verdejo-to-hold-public-event-tomorrow-in-the-bronx-292429