FRISCO, Texas -- Featherweight world titleholder Oscar Valdez made a triumphant return to the ring on Saturday night following an 11-month layoff because of a badly broken jaw suffered in his last bout.
Valdez scored four knockdowns and pounded Carmine Tommasone en route to a seventh-round knockout to retain his 126-pound belt for the fifth time on the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card at Ford Center at the Star, the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.
"I was very excited. I wanted to get off that ring rust. I got the job done," Valdez said. "Let's move on to bigger and better things."
Valdez (25-0, 20 KOs), 28, of Mexico, was fighting for the first time since suffering the broken jaw last March in a hellacious decision victory over former junior featherweight titlist Scott Quigg, who failed to make weight and could not win the belt but held a big size advantage over Valdez.
It was the third brutal fight in a row for Valdez, and he and his team decided to change trainers, leaving Manny Robles in favor of the more defensive-minded Eddy Reynoso, who is best known as the trainer for unified middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez.
Reynoso had to have been pleased with what he saw because Valdez took very few punches, though he was fighting an opponent with nothing on his shots.
"I thank [Reynoso] for taking the time to train me. We know he has a big star, but they welcomed me," Valdez said. Valdez also said his jaw was fine.
"I don't really think about the jaw except when people ask me about it. It's 100 percent," he said.
Tommasone proposes to girlfriend after loss
Carmine Tommasone proposes to his girlfriend after his knockout loss to Oscar Valdez at the Ford Center on Top Rank Boxing.
Now that Valdez has had his comeback fight, Top Rank hopes to make a unification fight for him with Josh Warrington (28-0, 6 KOs), of England, or a match with former two-division world titleholder Carl Frampton (26-2, 15 KOs), of Northern Ireland, who dropped a decision while challenging Warrington for his belt in December. Top Rank said Valdez's next fight could be as soon as March 23 on its card at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
"If it's possible, let's unify belts," Valdez said. "Everyone wanted to see the Frampton fight, but now that he lost to Warrington, the belt is over there [in England]. I'd love for that fight to happen."
Valdez outclassed Tommasone (19-1, 5 KOs), 34, who was fighting outside of his native Italy for the first time, from the outset. He fired hard jabs, body shots and hooks all while staying responsible on defense against an opponent who appeared to have zero steam on his punches.
Valdez scored two knockdowns in the fourth round, first landing a counter right hand to the jaw to drop him to his rear end with two minutes left in the round. Then, with just a few seconds remaining, he dropped him to a knee with a left to the body.
A straight left hand from Valdez midway through the sixth round dropped Tommasone to a knee. His right eye was cut and swelling and he was getting hammered. His corner looked poised to throw in the towel during the round but let it go.
And then, just seconds into the seventh round, Valdez landed a brutal right uppercut to the jaw, and Tommasone, one of three pros to compete in the 2016 Olympics, tumbled the mat. Referee Mark Nelson immediately waved off the fight at nine seconds.
"I didn't come here for vacation. I came here to fight. I felt I could have continued. But the referee decided to stop the fight," said Tommasone, who proposed to his girlfriend in the ring after the fight (and she said yes).
Commey stops Chaniev
Commey knocks out Chaniev for lightweight world title
Richard Commey dominates Isa Chaniev and knocks him out in the second round to claim the vacant IBF lightweight world title.
In his second shot at a lightweight world title, Richard Commey delivered a big performance as he scored three knockdowns of Isa Chaniev in a second-round knockout to win a vacant 135-pound belt.
Commey propelled himself into a world title unification fight with pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko in the main event of an ESPN+ card on April 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles -- as long as his right hand, which he said he hurt landing a big punch, is OK.
"This guy is very, very competitive with Lomachenko. He hits like a mule, he's a big guy," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. "Loma will embrace this kind of challenge because it is a challenging kind of fight. This guy can really hurt you, a big puncher. Loma is going to have his hands full, but that's what he wants."
Commey and Chaniev opened the fight at a very fast pace and exchanged several clean punches. But Commey (28-2, 25 KOs), 31, of Ghana, was landing the harder shots and forcing Chaniev back. With 25 seconds left in the first round, Commey landed a clean right hand and knocked Chaniev down. He tried to finish him, but the round ended.
He wasted no time, however, in the second round. Commey pounded on Chaniev and landed a crushing left hand in the opening seconds of the round to knock him down for the second time. Again, Chaniev (13-2, 6 KOs), 26, of Russia, beat the count, but Commey was relentless. He was all over him, landing everything -- including a ferocious left uppercut that caused referee Laurence Cole to stop the fight at 39 seconds as Chaniev, who had never faced anyone close to Commey's level, was falling to the canvas for the third time.
"It means everything for my career. I want to accomplish my dreams," Commey said. "[I won] because of the hard work and I listened to my corner. I did everything they asked me to do. I'm very happy I won this world title and that I am a world champion."
As for the prospect of facing Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) in just 2½ months, Commey didn't want to get into it.
"At the moment, I don't want to say now. I just want to enjoy this and live in the moment," he said.
There is also the matter of his right hand.
"When I hit him in the first round, I hurt my right knuckle. I'm going to have to get it looked at and see what happens," Commey said. "I don't think it's a big problem. I need to get it checked out."
Commey had been the mandatory challenger for unified lightweight titleholder Mikey Garcia, but when Garcia vacated one of his belts to challenge welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. in a major fight on March 16, Chaniev, the next leading available contender, got the chance to face Commey for the vacant title.
Commey, who earned $150,000 to Chaniev's $180,000, won his fourth fight in a row since back-to-back close decision losses, including in September 2016, when he dropped a split decision to Robert Easter Jr. for the same belt he won against Chaniev.
When Commey-Chaniev was made, part of the deal between Top Rank and Lou DiBella, who promotes both fighters, was that the winner would fight Lomachenko.
Also on the undercard
Super middleweight Janibek Alimkhanuly (5-0, 2 KO), 25, a 2016 Olympian from Kazakhstan, broke down Steven Martinez (18-5, 13 KOs), 28, of Bronx, New York, en route to a fifth-round knockout victory.
Alimkhanuly dropped Martinez to a knee with a body shot in the third round and landed many hard punches throughout the fight. In the fifth round, as Alimkhanuly was tagging him with unanswered punches, Martinez's corner threw in the towel, and referee Neal Young stopped the fights at 21 seconds.
Junior welterweight Enriko Gogokhia (10-0, 5 KOs), 27, a former kickboxer from the Republic of Georgia, scored two knockdowns in a third-round knockout of Vitor Jones Freitas (15-3, 9 KOs), 25, of Brazil. Gogokhia knocked down Freitas, the nephew of former lightweight and junior lightweight world titleholder Acelino "Popo" Freitas, in the first round and then finished him with a left hand to the stomach in the third. Freitas beat the count but was clearly in pain, and referee Young waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 4 seconds.
Featherweight Jason Sanchez (14-0, 7 KOs), 24, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, scored a one-punch, second-round knockout of Daniel Olea (13-7-2, 5 KOs), 25, of Mexico in their scheduled eight-round bout. Sanchez landed a hard overhand right hand behind Olea's ear to knock him down hard. Although Olea beat the count, he was in no shape to continue, and referee Gregorio Alvarez waved off the fight at 1 minute, 35 seconds.
Junior middleweight Patrick Day (17-2-1, 16 KOs), 26 of Freeport, New York, scored a hard-fought unanimous decision over Ismail Iliev (11-1-1, 3 KOs), 25, of Russia, to win a vacant regional title. Day was awarded scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 in the high-contact fight. Day won his sixth fight in a row since a surprising first-round knockout loss in 2015.
Russian junior middleweight Bakhram Murtazaliev (15-0, 12 KOs), 26, pounded former middleweight world title challenger Elvin Ayala (29-13-1, 13 KOs), 38, of New Haven, Connecticut, relentlessly until stopping Ayala in the ninth round to retain his regional belt. Murtazaliev dropped Ayala to a knee with a right hand in the in the second round, dominated the entire fight and then dropped him again with a flurry of punches in the ninth round. Ayala made it to his feet, and when the fight resumed, Murtazaliev hammered with numerous punches, including a left hook to the chin that badly rocked Ayala and forced referee Young to stop the fight at 2 minutes, 5 seconds.