IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez scored a fifth-round TKO victory over Michael Conlan in Belfast, Ireland.
The event was all set up for Michael Conlan (18-2) to earn a victory in his home of Belfast, Ireland, on Saturday, but instead, the IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez (28-2) scored another victory on the road. Lopez scored a fifth-round TKO after scoring a knockdown with a right uppercut, and once Conlan hit the canvas, his corner threw in the towel.
The fight started reasonably well for Conlan, who was having success with fighting at mid-range, but the awkward Lopez kept landing, keeping Conlan honest. Lopez was doing his best impression of super featherweight Emmanuel Navarette by punching from awkward angles and making things difficult for Conlan. Although Lopez was getting caught coming in at certain points of the first two rounds, Conlan seemed gassed as the fight went into the third round.
Lopez kept landing the cleaner shots, and Conlan’s reaction time was getting slower and slower. Although Conlan is only 31 years old, he has a ton of wear and tear which started to show in the fourth and fifth rounds. During the fifth round, Lopez was pouring it on, and when he scored the knockdown, Conlan’s corner knew that it was over and that the right call was to throw in the towel. You won’t find anyone in the arena or watching it on ESPN+ that would contest stopping the fight at that moment.
Luis Alberto Lopez defeated Michael Conlan via fifth round TKO on ESPN+
With the TKO victory, Lopez now has the opportunity to land a fight with a bigger purse which could be a rematch with Josh Warrington, who he beat in December 2022. There is still some bad blood left over from their first fight, which would make for an even more intriguing rematch. There are also fights with Ruben Villa and Joet Gonzalez that can be made with Top Rank, so the future looks bright for the 29-year-old IBF featherweight champion.