Lopez gets another KO, Stevenson wins again at MSG

Teofimo Lopez, right, punches Finland's Edis Tatli during the first round of a NABF lightweight championship boxing match Saturday, April 20, 2019, in New York. Lopez stopped Tatli in the fifth round. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

NEW YORK — Teofimo Lopez scored another knockout and Shakur Stevenson also won Saturday night as the 2016 Olympians remained unbeaten on the undercard of Terence Crawford’s title fight against Amir Khan.

Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) knocked out Edis Tatli of Finland midway through the fifth round of the final fight before Crawford entered the ring for his welterweight bout at Madison Square Garden.

Lopez started a little slowly, perhaps pacing himself in his first 12-round fight. He then began to land his power shots, with the final one a right hand to Tatli’s left side that sent him to a knee, and he didn’t get up while falling to 31-3.

Lopez, a Brooklyn native who fought for his parents’ native Honduras in Rio, is adamant that he wants a title shot soon in the 135-pound division.

"As long as it’s for a title, I am ready to go. No one can take my power," he said.

Stevenson beat former title challenger Christopher Diaz of Puerto Rico by unanimous decision in a 10-round bout.

Wearing gold gloves and gold trunks, the silver medallist in Rio from nearby Newark, New Jersey, won by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92.

Stevenson (11-0) won five fights last year and already twice in 2019, hoping to move quickly toward a title shot. He sure moves quickly in the ring, way too much so for Diaz with both the snap on his punches and movement of his feet.

The frustrated Diaz would occasionally lunge in and try to land a power shot, but often simply couldn’t catch the must-quicker Stevenson.

"I take nothing away from Christopher Diaz. He’s a great fighter, but I came in there to outbox him, and that’s exactly what I did," Stevenson said.

Promoter Bob Arum wondered if the 21-year-old Stevenson was taking on a little too much, too soon in Diaz, but it was quickly clear that wouldn’t be a concern.

Diaz (24-2), who moved down to featherweight after challenging for a 130-pound title last year, won the final round on two cards, but Stevenson was mostly just dancing away the final minutes by then.

Also, Felix Verdejo (25-1) beating Bryan Vasquez by unanimous decision. Verdejo was stopped in the 10th round in this very arena on March 17, 2018, by Antonio Lozada, but the former Puerto Rican amateur star has won two straight since.

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