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Vergil Ortiz Jr. Makes Explosive Comeback with Controversial Victory

Vergil Ortiz Jr. marked his return to the ring after a 17-month layoff with a swift and powerful victory on Saturday night. In a main event showdown at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, the 25-year-old boxer knocked out Fredrick Lawson in just 2 minutes and 33 seconds of the first round, maintaining his perfect knockout record (20-0, 20 KOs).

Despite his impressive performance, Ortiz expressed disappointment with the referee's decision to stop the fight early.

"I wish I could have kept going," he told DAZN's Beto Duran. "I need the rounds. But hey, I was hurting him with the jab. I stunned him with the jab, and I didn't even land it that hard. I'm ready for anyone out there."

Lawson, a Ghanaian-born fighter based in Portland, suffered his fourth knockout or technical knockout loss in his career (30-4, 22 KOs). Ortiz dominated the fight, landing a hard jab that buckled Lawson's legs with less than 40 seconds remaining in the opening round. Referee Tony Weeks then intervened, stopping the fight as he felt Lawson was in no condition to continue.

This wasn't the first time Weeks found himself in the midst of controversy. He had previously drawn criticism for stopping a fight prematurely in May 2023 between Rolly Romero and Ismael Barroso.

Coincidentally, Barroso emerged victorious on the undercard of Ortiz's fight, winning by a first-round knockout. The win secured him a rematch with Romero, who was in attendance at the event.

Ortiz's return to the ring was eagerly anticipated after a series of setbacks due to health issues. He had to withdraw from three fights since March 2022, including two against WBA world welterweight champion Eimantas Stanionis. These setbacks were caused by rhabdomyolysis, a muscle condition, and severe dehydration and heat exhaustion.

However, Ortiz has overcome these challenges and is now focused on his comeback.

"You know, it felt like I'm back to doing what I usually do," Ortiz said. "This is my calling. This is what I live for. And I wanna continue doing this."

With this explosive victory, Ortiz has signaled his readiness to take on new challenges in the boxing world, eager to prove himself once again on the international stage.


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