In the opening bout of Thursday night’s Top Rank on ESPN broadcast, we saw to heavyweights clash in Waldo Cortes, 5-3 (2 KOs) taking on Kingsley Ibeh, 4-1 (4 KOs). This was a rematch of their October 2019 fight in which Cortes pulled off a split decision win. Both fighters looked tense as the bell rang and Ibeh didn’t waste any time as he stormed out of the gate with his southpaw straight as he closed in to throw combinations punches, many of which were blocked. Ibeh established himself as the aggressor in the first having switched stances to try and connect with a big right hook.
The second of six, Ibeh again came out swinging and was able to connect but was on the receiving end of a Cortes hook. Cortes landed a nice left hook on Ibeh near the back end of the round as Ibeh started to visibly tire from his aggressive output and missed punches. Cortes worked behind the jab in the third and was able to consistently make Ibeh miss as he loaded his punches. As Ibeh’s output started to slow, it was Cortes who seemed to be in control.
Ibeh responded a major way in the fourth as he was able to trap Cortes against the ropes and load off on several left uppercuts before dropping him with a right hook, left uppercut combination. Cortes was barely able to stand before the 10-count and referee Nick Drakulich called it off at 1:41 of the fourth round. Ibeh avenges his only loss and picks up his fourth knockout in as many victories.