11 C
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Alexis Rocha stops George Ashie with huge hook in Round 7

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Alexis Rocha took another step toward a truly big fight.

The welterweight contender put late replacement George Ashie down twice and stopped him with one punch in the seventh round Saturday at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California. The official time of the stoppage was 2:08.

Rocha (22-1, 14 KOs) had been scheduled to face Anthony Young but Young was pulled off the card early this week. And Ashie, a 38-year-old veteran from Ghana, agreed to step in.

Ashie proved to be willing but he didn’t have the skill set to avoid the shots Rocha was throwing at him.

Rocha, a southpaw, put Ashie down and hurt him with a vicious right hook with about 20 seconds remaining in Round 3. Ashie survived the round but the early adversity was a bad sign for him.

Rocha stayed on top of Ashie with a high volume of punches from then on, even after he suffered a bad cut from a clash of heads in Round 6. Ashie fired back at the hittable Rocha, never for a minute giving up, but Rocha’s punches began to wear him down.

Finally, in Round 7, Rocha landed another perfect right hook that put Ashie flat on his face. However, this time, with Ashie obviously unable to continue, referee Thomas Taylor immediately ended the fight.

Rocha now has won six consecutive fights since he was outpointed by slick Rashidi Ellis in October 2020, a successful run that has lifted into the rankings.

He’s the WBO’s No. 3 contender, behind only champion Terence Crawford, No. 1 Vergil Ortiz and No. 2 Keith Thurman, who is expected to challenge WBC titleholder Errol Spence Jr.

The 25-year-old from Orange County, California, believes he’s ready for the level of opposition listed above.

“I’m ready for the big names,” Rocha said. “Errol Spence doesn’t want to fight Crawford for some reason; he’s fighting Thurman. I’m next in the WBO. I want Crawford next. …

“I know what I’m capable of. I know when I fight, whoever it is in front of me, I’ll take it to the next level.”

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