Emmanuel Rodriguez scored a unanimous decision over Melvin Lopez on Showtime from The Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland on a Premier Boxing Champions fight card.
Rodriguez (22-2, 13 KOs) won via 120-105 scores from the three judges.
“This is the result of six months of hard work in Mexico,” said Rodriguez, who is from Puerto Rico in a release.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without my entire team. I was able to become a champion once again five years later thanks to them. Let’s go Latin America, let’s go Puerto Rico, and let’s go Mexico!
“I remained calm despite the headbutt that caused my eye to swell up in the second round. It kept getting more swollen, but my team did an outstanding job keeping it at bay. I never had a problem with my eyesight throughout the fight.”
Rodriguez knocked down Lopez (29-2, 19 KOs) three times in the last round.
“We worked on being powerful and purposeful with our power punches, besides showing off our skills,” Rodriguez said.
“I want Santiago next. He says that he doesn’t think anybody can beat him at 118 pounds, but I’m here to prove him wrong.”
“I thought that Rodriguez was going to run out of gas, because I was hitting him, but the ref was annoying and kept getting in the way saying I was landing low blows,” Lopez said after.
In the co-main event, Capitol Heights, Maryland native Gary Antuanne Russell (17-0, 17 KOs) beat Kent Cruz (16-1-3, 10 KOs) via KO1.
Russell is a 2016 U.S. Olympian.
“This is obviously good,” Russell said after. “I saw the opening and I took it, and I was trying to remain disciplined defensively at the same time. More than anything, I was trying to make sure I could end it in the first round.
“I wasn't shooting for the knockout streak, but that's just what happened during a minute and a half worth of work tonight. If the opportunity is there, why not take it?”
Kicking off the show, Gabriel Maestre (6-0-1, 5 KOs) stopped Capitol Heights, Maryland native Travon Marshall (8-1, 7 KOs) via second-round TKO.
“I did not expect this knockout,” Maestre said after. “I want to thank my team for helping me prepare for this fight. This victory is for Venezuela. We practiced that right hand that hit Travon. I hope that he recovers quickly.
“I was honestly surprised I knocked Marshall out so quickly. He’s a tough, young fighter.
“I saw that Marshall looked a little inhibited and didn’t want to exchange punches with me from the opening bell. Then my right hand ended it.”
ALSO: bantamweight Michael Angeletti (9-0) beat Jonathan Lopez (8-1-2), 79-73, 79-73 and 80-72. Plus, Jose Benavidez, Jr. stopped Bosnian Sladan Janjanin (36-16). Benavidez, Jr. (28-2-1, 19 KOs) after five rounds.
And, Las Vegas native Damien Vazquez (17-3-1, 10 KOs) stopped Jeronil Borres (12-9-2) of the Philippines via TKO6.