NEW YORK – Brian Ceballo continued his comeback from his first professional defeat with a technical-knockout win Thursday night in his hometown.
New York’s Ceballo dropped and stopped Kenneth McNeil in the fourth round of their scheduled eight-round junior middleweight match on the Callum Walsh-Ismael Villarreal undercard in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Referee Eric Dali halted the action at 2:17 of the fourth round because McNeil failed to beat his count.
Ceballo, a New York-based native of Puerto Rico, improved to 16-1 and recorded his eighth knockout. He has won three fights in a row since fellow Puerto Rican Niklaus Flaz (11-2, 7 KOs) upset him by eight-round majority decision in October 2022 in San Juan.
McNeil (13-5, 10 KOs), of Birmingham, Alabama, lost by technical knockout for the second time in his past four fights.
A right hand by Ceballo sent McNeil down to one knee with 54 seconds to go in the fourth round. McNeil remained on one knee until Dali counted him out.
Ceballo caught McNeil with a left hook that made him hold just before the halfway point of the fourth round.
McNeil caught Ceballo with a flush right to the middle of his face with just over 1:40 to go in the opening round. Ceballo wobbled McNeil with a right hand less than a minute into the first round, but McNeil made the second and third rounds competitive before Ceballo took control in the fourth.
Earlier Thursday night, Omar Trinidad overwhelmed Andrew Bentley and knocked out the overmatched underdog in the first round.
Trinidad dropped Bentley once and battered him with an array of power punches until referee Shada Murdaugh finally halted their scheduled six-round junior lightweight fight just 2:27 into it. Bentley’s corner men asked Murdaugh to stop the bout because Bentley took unnecessary punishment.
Los Angeles’ Trinidad improved to 14-0-1 and recorded his 11th knockout. Jersey City’s Bentley slipped to 5-8 and lost his fifth fight in a row, but he was stopped inside the distance for the first time in 13 pro bouts.
Trinidad unloaded a barrage of punches that left Bentley trying to cover up throughout the first half of the opening round.
In the opening bout Thursday night, Irish junior lightweight prospect Feargal McCrory won a hard-fought, six-round unanimous decision over Nikolai Buzolin.
The 31-year-old McCrory (15-0, 7 KOs), of Coalisland, Northern Ireland, won by the same score, 58-56, according to all three judges. The Russian-born, Brooklyn-based Buzolin (9-7-1, 5 KOs) has lost three fights in a row.
Buzolin continued to switch between orthodox and southpaw stances during the sixth round. He caught McCrory with various flush punches in the final three minutes as McCrory moved forward with his hands down.
Buzolin blasted McCrory with a sweeping left hook as McCrory came forward toward the end of the fifth round. McCrory’s left hand backed up Buzolin a little more than 40 seconds into the fifth round.
A right hook by Buzolin knocked McCrory off balance with over 1:40 on the clock in the fourth round. Buzolin was the sharper fighter during the fourth round, when McCrory appeared fatigued.
McCrory caught Buzolin with a left hook that knocked him backward with just over 20 seconds remaining in the third round.
Buzolin nailed McCrory with a low blow that caused a break in the action about 30 seconds into the second round. McCrory consistently landed the harder shots to Buzolin’s head and body in the second round once the action resumed.
McCrory caught Buzolin with several hard right hooks to the body during a one-sided first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.