Michel Rivera won the battle of the right hands on the Chris Colbert-Tugstsogt Nyambayar card Saturday in Carson, Calif.
Rivera, the hot young lightweight contender from the Dominican Republic, overcame a knockdown to put Jon Fernandez down and out with a straight right 44 seconds into Round 8 of what was billed as a titleholder eliminator.
The fight was competitive for seven-plus rounds, with Rivera (21-0, 14 KOs) sticking, moving and finding a home for his right hand with regularity and the powerful Fernandez (21-2, 18 KOs) getting in his own licks.
The Spaniard turned the momentum in his favor when he landed a short right that knocked Rivera to one knee in Round 6, at which point the fight was close.
Then, out of nowhere in Round 8, Rivera unloaded a quick one-two, the latter punch being a straight right that put Fernandez on his face and hurt him badly.
Fernandez tried to get up but fell onto this back, which prompted referee Jack Reiss to wave off the fight.
Rivera made a strong statement in his first appearance on Showtime, overcoming adversity to score a spectacular, one-punch knockout. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Fernandez, a protege of Sergio Martinez, suffered the first knockout loss of his career.