Holt KOs Torres in First Round

By Francis Walker
Updated: July 6, 2008

Kendall Holt wins WBO Jr. Welterweight Title

Kendall Holt wins WBO Jr. Welterweight Title

NEW YORK — Kendall Holt (24-2, 13 KOs) survived two stunning knockdowns to brutally knockout Ricardo Torres (32-2, 28 KOs) at 1:01 of the first round to become the new WBO junior welterweight champion.

The bout was perhaps the most exciting fight of 2008 and was the featured main attraction on Showtime’s critically acclaimed “ShoBox: The New Generation” series from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

In the opening seconds of the contest, Torres floored Holt with a solid right to the chin. Holt immediately returned to his feet, but was greeted with a solid right upside the head.

Moments later, Holt was tagged with another right to the chin and was floored to the canvas again. The fight was in grave danger of being stopped early.

“I never saw the first knockdown coming,” said Holt, a 27 year-old from Paterson, NJ. “I looked away and was distracted. I saw the second knockdown coming, but I couldn’t do anything about it.”

Holt probably couldn’t prevent the two knockdowns, but he did manage to keep himself in the fight. Holt took command after catching Torres, 28, Colombia, with a booming right to the side of the head the left him unconscious on the ropes.

“I had him (Holt),” said Torres, who lost the championship in only his third defense. “He was in my hands. I got careless. He got me.”

Fight over, new champion.

“I may go down, but I get back up,” Holt added. “This is better than a dream come true. Let the blood flow.”

Holt, not recognized for his punching power, fought Torres in a rematch of their September 2007 bout in Columbia that ended in controversy. Holt was verbally assaulted by Torres’ hometown supporters.

Also, spectators pelted beer cans at Holt in what was a very hostile environment.

In the 11th round, Torres scored a knockdown. Holt returned to his feet, but was eventually greeted by a barrage of punches. Holt’s back was against the ropes, but was visibly unfazed by Torres’ flurry.

The fight was stopped prematurely.

Holt was ahead 98-91, 95-94, and trialed 94-95 at the time of the controversial stoppage. Holt’s petition of an immediate rematch was denied, but he signed a deal with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum; ensuring that he’d receive another shot at Torres and a world title.

Holt made good on his promise to beat Torres and become a world champion. Holt was always a fighter with good skills. He handed former WBC lightweight champion David Diaz and rising prospect Issac Hlatswayo their first professional loss.

Holt also owns a victory over Mike Arnaoutis from last year.

As WBO junior welterweight champion, Holt finds himself in a position to secure some more fights. The gate keeper of the division is Ricky Hatton, who will challenge Paulie Malignaggi this fall. Holt could fight

Torres for a third time.

There’s also Frenchman Willy Blain (19-0, 3 KOs), the undefeated WBO. No 1-ranked contender. Blain is a homegrown product and has fought exclusively out of Germany and Austria throughout his career.

Lamont Peterson shines on ShoBox too

Lamont Peterson lands left hook

Lamont Peterson lands left hook

Lamont Peterson (25-0, 12 KOs), an undefeated junior welterweight prospect, kept his perfect record intact after he stopped a very durable Rogelio Castaneda (24-14-3, 8 KOs) at 2:50 in the ninth round of the televised co-featured attraction.

Peterson, a 24 year-old from Washington, D.C., once again displayed wonderful combination punching, hand-foot speed, defense, and endurance. Peterson wasn’t afraid to let his hands go at all.

Peterson’s skills were too diverse for the straight-forward Castaneda, 31, from Tijuana, Mexico. “I thought Lamont did pretty well considering this was his first fight in six months,” said Peterson’s trainer, Barry Hunter. “I give him a ‘B.’”

Peterson’s skills were so diverse he switched his stance from conventional to southpaw in the last round. Immediately afterward, Peterson floored to the canvas with a right hook.

“I turned southpaw and landed a clean shot to the temple,” Peterson discussed. The knockdown, in addition to Peterson’s dominance, led to Castaneda’s corner to stop the fight.