Home Boxing News Vergil Ortiz Jr overcomes adversity to stop Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the eighth

Vergil Ortiz Jr overcomes adversity to stop Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the eighth

Vergil Ortiz Jr stops Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the eighth. Photo credit: Omar Vega/Getty Images

Welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr 18-0 (18) overcame a rocky start to stop Egidijus ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas 22-2-1 (18) in eight rounds at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Saturday night.

Ortiz knocked down Kavaliauskas four times in the eighth frame to close out the fight in style.

Lithuanian Kavaliauskas, 33, showed he meant business early, catching Ortiz in the second round in a fiery exchange that saw the 23-year-old from Grand Prairie, Texas hit the canvas but it was ruled a slip.

Ortiz put Kavaliauskas on the floor in the following round with a powerful left jab..

Kavaliauskas continued to stalk Ortiz in the middle rounds as the undefeated power-puncher got to work behind his jab. As the rounds wore on Kavaliauskas became increasingly more flatfooted as Ortiz started to find a home for his power shots.

Ortiz found the opening he needed in the eighth round when he sent Kavaliauskas to the canvas courtesy of a left hand to the body. Never one to let his opponents off the hook, Ortiz went back to work and sent Kavaliauskas to the deck again with a left hook.

Kavaliauskas found himself down for a third time in the round before Ortiz jumped on him again and put him on the canvas for the fourth time, forcing the referee to wave off the bout just before the bell.

“I feel good,” Ortiz said. “The fight started off slow in my opinion and I just had to adjust. After the second round, I had to adjust and try to find a way to wear him down. I started using my jab more and fought more intelligently.

“After the third round, I felt more confident because I knew that I could control the fight moving forward. But he is a tough guy, a very strong fighter, and I respect that he came to fight.”

Kavaliauskas praised his opponent after the fight.

“I came here to fight, I was sure I would stop him. I prepared myself so hard to be ready for this fight,” he said.

“I was 100% in shape, I was fast, I was strong. But you know, it is what it is, today he was stronger, he is a tremendous fighter.

“He has good power and good speed, good jab, good technique, he is a good fighter. I was thinking that I was going to end the fight in the second round, but he survived. He is a warrior.”

Ortiz said he was happy with his performance.

“I think I did alright. I am happy with my performance and I think I will do better from here,” he said. “Honestly, I was not as hurt as you think I was. He hit me with a good shot but I wasn’t even hurt.

“We worked on trying to box more, and we put it to a good use. The body shots were going to be the key to victory. I slowed him down and that was it.”

Ortiz added he was ready to fight any of the world titleholders but hinted that boxing politics could get in the way.

“[WBO champion Terence] Crawford and me, we are different fighters,” he said. “There’s so much shit going on in boxing right now that I don’t know what I need to do to fight hm. But I’ll fight [WBC and IBF champion Errol] Spence, Crawford, [Manny] Pacquiao, I’ll fight anyone.”