NEW YORK -- Featherweight prospect Michael Conlan, the two-time Irish Olympian, returned to the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the site of his electric professional debut on March 17, on Saturday night and rolled to victory again.
Fighting in the co-feature on the card headlined by the Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux junior lightweight world title fight, Conlan cruised to a one-sided shutout decision against Luis Fernando Molina (7-4-1, 2 KO), 29, of Argentina.
All three judges scored the fight 60-54 in favor of Conlan, who went the distance for the first time. Molina was willing to mix it up in the middle of the ring with Conlan (5-0, 4 KOs), who met him head-on and got the better of him with snappy jabs and quicker hands.
Conlan, 26, outhustled and outpunched Molina throughout the fight. Although he did not appear to be hurting Molina, Conlan threw a lot of punches, applied constant pressure and landed many combinations.
Conlan strayed low with a punch in the fifth round, and referee Arthur Mercante gave Molina time to recover, but as soon as the fight resumed, Conlan landed a hard left uppercut.
"I thought I used my boxing skills very well. He had a hard head," Conlan said. "My next fight will be back here in the Garden on March 17. This is going to be my Garden. I'm glad I got the rounds in. I'm happy with my performance."
Conlan, who claimed an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and was controversially eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Games, will box again at the Theater on St. Patrick's Day in the co-feature of the vacant junior welterweight world title fight between Jose Ramirez and Amir Imam.
Diaz knocks out Cruz in third round
Diaz emotional after TKO win over Cruz
Christopher Diaz defeats Bryant Cruz by TKO in the third round and tears up explaining how much this win means to him.
Junior lightweight prospect Christopher Diaz dominated late replacement Bryant "Pee Wee" Cruz, knocking him down four times in a third-round knockout victory.
Diaz was originally due to face Casey Ramos (24-1, 6 KOs), but Ramos withdrew last week, and Cruz, 27, of Port Chester, New York, took the bout on short notice, though he was only three weeks removed from a knockout victory.
Diaz (22-0, 14 KOs) got off to a fast start when he clubbed Cruz (18-3, 9 KOs) with a right hand followed by a left on top of the head that dropped him in the opening round.
Diaz, 23, of Puerto Rico, continued to pour it on in the second, scoring two more knockdowns. The first came from a left hand to the head with about 30 seconds to go. Seconds later, Cruz was on the mat again after getting dropped with a left hand to the body.
In the third round, Diaz dropped Cruz for the fourth time with a right hand that caused referee Harvey Dock to wave off the fight 37 seconds into the round.
"I felt great in my first fight at 130 pounds," Diaz said. "It was the performance I was looking for. Now that Miguel Cotto is retired, I am here to stay and become one of the best superstars from Puerto Rico. I hope I bring happiness to my island after all we went through with Hurricane Maria."
Featherweight Shakur Stevenson (4-0, 2 KO) blew out Oscar Mendoza (4-3, 2 KOs), 26, of Santa Maria, California, stopping him in the second round of a scheduled six-rounder that opened the ESPN telecast.
The 20-year-old Stevenson, a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist from Newark, New Jersey, dominated from the outset. He landed right jabs from his southpaw stance and body shots nearly at will against Mendoza, who landed virtually nothing. Stevenson, who spent much of his training camp sparring with Lomachenko, opened the second round with a sustained assault of combinations that had Mendoza covering up as he took a pounding. He was getting battered, and referee Sparkle Lee had finally seen enough, so she stepped in and stopped the fight at 1 minute, 38 seconds.
"Everything was working for me tonight," Stevenson said. "Everything I threw was landing. Sparring with Lomachenko really helped a lot. He's one of the best fighters out there, and I learned a lot from working with him. You still haven't seen the best of me. Just wait and watch."
Lightweight Mikaela Mayer (3-0, 2 KOs), 27, of Los Angeles, who was on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, won a majority decision against Nydia Feliciano (9-9-3, 0 KOs), 29, of Bronx, New York, in their fast-paced fight. One judge scored the fight 38-38, but the other two scored the fight a 40-36 shutout for Mayer, which seemed to be the right score for Mayer, who took some shots but dished out a lot more.
"That was my last four-round fight," Mayer said. "I'm ready for six-round fights because I feel stronger as the fight goes on. She was a tough girl. I hit her really hard, and she fought back."
Former heavyweight world title challenger Bryant Jennings (21-2, 12 KOs), 33, of Philadelphia, stopped Don Haynesworth (13-2-1, 11 KOs), 35, of Greensboro, North Carolina, in the third round of their scheduled eight-rounder.
Jennings, a former world title challenger who took Wladimir Klitschko the distance in a 2015 loss, won his second fight in a row since signing with Top Rank following a 20-month layoff because of issues with his previous promoter.
Jennings attacked Haynesworth to the body and put his punches together well before he clobbered him with a clean right hand to the chin that badly rocked him in the second round. He was seemingly out on his feet, and referee Arthur Mercante stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 29 seconds.
"I'm happy I got some rounds in, even though it was just three," said Jennings, who will next fight in the spring. "I'm just going to keep listening [to trainer] John [David Jackson], and I just want to get more rounds. I don't feel rusty, but I think I've got more work to do."
Featherweight Jose Gonzalez (8-0-2, 2 KOs), 21, of New York, and Adan Gonzalez (3-1-2, 2 KOs), 20, of Denver, battled to a majority draw in a fierce six-rounder. In the end, one judge scored the fight for Gonzalez 58-56, but the other two judges scored it 57-57.