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Beltran scores stoppage over Okada

Ray Beltran stops the previously unbeaten Hiroki Okada in Fresno, California.

The opening bout of the Top Rank on ESPN card featured former champ Ray Beltran (36-8-1, 21 KOs) once again turning back the clock with an impressive ninth-round stoppage over the previously unbeaten Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13 KOs).

Both fighters traded often and early, and after a sizzling first round, Beltran floored Okada with a quick left hook that seemed to be more of an off-balance shot. Okada rose immediately and then went on the attack, rocking Beltran with a straight right hand before firing off a barrage of punches along the ropes to finish the round.

In the third round, Beltran stunned Okada with a series of punches, and opened up a cut over his left eye after an accidental headbutt.

The two fighters continued to wage war on each other until the ninth round, when Beltran connected with a short right cross that sent Okada down. This time Okada was badly hurt and although he made it to his feet, Beltran went for the kill, finally scoring the stoppage after sending him down again – Okada’s corner having thrown in the towel at the same time.

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