Katsuma Akitsugi scores stoppage win over Eduardo Ramirez Rubio in nine rounds

Katsuma Akitsugi is beginning to make a name for himself at 118 pounds.

Akitsugi broke down Eduardo Ramirez Rubio before ending matters in round nine Wednesday night at the Whitesands (also known as the ProBox TV) Events Center in Plant City, Florida. The 26-year-old Akitsugi improved to 11-0, 2 knockouts.

The southpaw Akitsugi was in control from the opening bell, outboxing and overwhelming Ramirez, who was game, but had no answer for Akitsugi’s offense. With each passing round, Akitsugi gained more confidence, walking Ramirez down and forcing him to fight off his back foot.

Katsuma Akitsugi (right) lands a bomb on Eduardo Ramirez Rubio – Photo courtesy of ProBox TV

During round four, a left cross to the head dropped Ramirez to the canvas. Ramirez did beat the count and tried to fight back, but Akitsugi continued to land repeatedly to the head and body of Ramirez.

The punch output of Ramirez dropped in each round. Sensing he was weakened or tired, Akitsugi increased his punch output and aggression, including in round eight.

In round nine, Akitsugi continued to land combinations. During one sequence, a barrage of punches sent Ramirez backwards into the ropes, prompting referee Michael DeJesus to step in and stop the fight at 1:48.

Akitsugi, who is originally from Wakayama, Japan and now resides in Los Angeles, California, had not fought since a technical decision win over Jose Santos Gonzalez in May 2022. Prior to the win over Gonzalez, Akitsugi defeated three unbeaten fighters in a row (Eros Correa, Rasheen Brown, and Gregory Morales).

The 26-year-old is managed by Nomaan Ali.

Ramirez, who resides in Guaymas, Mexico, falls to 22-4-3, 16 KOs. The 28-year-old has now lost three of his last four bouts.

Nicklaus Flaz – Photo courtesy of ProBox TV

In the co-feature, welterweight Nicklaus Flaz dropped late-sub Alfredo Escarcega three times en route to a knockout win in round four. Flaz improved to 13-2, 9 KOs.

The southpaw Escarcega did have his moments early on, but Flaz began to figure him out, eventually breaking him down with combinations to the head and body.

Midway through round three, a right hand to the stomach dropped Escarcega to the canvas. Escarcega beat the count, but he fought off his back foot and his punch output dropped drastically.

During the fourth round, a sweeping left hook dropped Escarcega to one knee. Again, Escarcega beat the count, but was noticeably worse for wear. Moments later, a barrage of punches dropped Escarcega to the canvas, prompting his corner to throw in the towel. Referee Massimo Montanini stopped the fight at 2:48.

The 28-year-old from Vega Alta, Puerto Rico has won his last four fights since losing by knockout to Janelson Figueroa Bocachica in October 2020, including back-to-back victories over Jahi Tucker and Brian Ceballo.

Escarcega, who resides in Buckeye, Arizona, falls to 15-2-1, 7 KOs. The 26-year-old has lost two of his last three fights.

In a clash of unbeaten light heavyweight prospects, Najee Lopez overcame a knockdown to defeat Steven Sumpter by unanimous decision. Scores were 78-73, 78-73, and 77-74 for Lopez, who improved to 11-0, 8 KOs.

During an exchange that took place in a corner during round one, the taller Lopez landed a left hook to the body that almost dropped Sumpter to the canvas. To his credit, the southpaw Sumpter was game, weathering the barrage of punches to stay in the pocket to exchange with Lopez.

Weljon Mindoro drops Tyler Goodjohn – Photo courtesy of ProBox TV

Lopez, who resides in Ellenwood, Georgia, continued being on the attack, landing vicious punches, particularly a handful of left uppercuts to the head of Sumpter in round three. During an exchange late in round four, Lopez battered Sumpter before Sumpter threw and landed a left cross to the head, dropping Lopez to the canvas. Lopez beat the count and was able to make it out of the round.

The 24-year-old Lopez swung momentum his way during round five, outboxing Sumpter during most exchanges. Sumpter’s punch output dropped with each passing round, prompting Lopez to look for the knockout.

Lopez almost got it during round eight, hurting Sumpter twice. With about 15 seconds left, a left uppercut hurt Sumpter, forcing him to back away and survive the round, making it to the final bell.

The 30-year-old Sumpter, who resides in Lawrence, Massachusetts, falls to 9-1-1, 7 KOs.

In the opening bout of the ProBox TV card, middleweight Weljon Mindoro dropped Tyler Goodjohn three times en route to a second round knockout win. Mindoro improved to 12-0-1, 12 KOs.

The 24-year-old Mindoro, who resides in Bacoor in the Philippines, was declared the winner at 2:46 after referee Massimo Montanini waved the fight off after Goodjohn was knocked down for a third time by a barrage of punches.

Goodjohn, who now lives and trains in Miami, Florida, falls to 13-6, 4 KOs. He had not fought in almost seven years, and has now lost four of his last seven fights.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at santio89@yahoo.com

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