Felix Alvarado stages second successful title defense
IBF world light flyweight champion Felix “El Gemelo” Alvarado (36-2, 31 KO’s) captures a second defense of his title. His opponent, DeeJay Kriel (16-2-1, 8 KO’s), was game but succumbed to a tenth round knockout.
The defeat was particular bitter for Kriel who was looking to become a two division world champion. On February 16, 2019 Kriel claimed a TKO win over Carlos “Mexicanito” Licona (15-1, 2 KO’s). Licona was the IBF world minimumweight champion at the time of their collision.
The bout also held a few personal items of interest for Alvarado, who was fighting on the same card as his brother Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado. This is also the first fight for Felix in America.
ALL OUT BLITZ
Out the gate Alvarado blitzed Kriel and smothered him with pressure. In particular El Gemelo was successful with his left uppercut and straight right hand. For the better part of it, Kriel fought the first round on his back foot. After finding some equilibrium in the mid-portion, the South African finished the period being pummeled on the ropes.
The bad first round was followed up with an even worse second. Early in the period Alvarado dropped Kriel hard with a crisp, tight left hook. To his credit the challenger finished the round, but he was harassed, belted and battered the entire time. In the third Kriel largely stayed off the ropes and clinched when Alvarado got in close. The change in tactics took some of the momentum out of El Gemelo’s offense.
Then in the first minute of the fourth, Kriel is dropped hard with another battering left hook. Along with the head shots, Alvarado was scoring a great deal of quality body shots. Technically speaking, the challenger enjoyed his best round of the fight in the fifth. Here his punch output went up and he began boxing with some success. Trouble was, the Nicaraguan was still landing the clearly harder punches.
COME BACK WIN IN PLAY?
The South African continued to enjoy good fortune in the six, seventh and eighth rounds. By sticking and moving, punching in fast short combinations and shoe shining, Kriel was a much more effective fighter. At the same time, Alvarado’s punches no longer had the damaging effect that they did in the opening rounds.
In the ninth, Alavrado came out determined to change the current tide. The champion significantly increased his output and maximum torque in each punch. Despite his aggressive opening, Kriel began to wilt within the closing moments in the period. In those last thirty seconds the South African found himself pent against the ropes being hammered. Not only was he not really returning fire, he looked like he was not responding well to the blows. Nevertheless, the sound of the bell saved him from a knockout…but not for long!
The sixty seconds in between rounds was not enough to replenish his vigor. In the tenth round, El Gemelo swiftly corralled Kriel against the ropes and resumed the beat down. Thumping hooks and uppercuts regularly threaded through his opponents defense. With his mouth and nose bleeding, looking limp and helpless on the ropes, referee Mark Calo-oy jumped in to halt the contest.
By: Bakari Simpson