LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Mexico's Oscar Valdez dethroned Miguel Berchelt on Saturday (Feb 20), knocking him out with one second left on the 10th round in a stunning upset, to claim the World Boxing Council junior lightweight title in Las Vegas.
Valdez, who scored two knockdowns earlier in the fight, landed a vicious left hook to the head that sent Berchelt crumbling to the canvas at the MGM Grand Hotel.
Valdez brutally overpowered Berchelt in a battle between the two Mexican warriors that lived up to its pre-fight hype.
"I have a list of people who doubted me," said the undefeated Valdez. "I proved them wrong. "There is nothing better in life than proving people wrong. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something."
Bleeding from both nostrils, Berchelt remained motionless on his back for two minutes after the knockout before being helped to his feet by the ring doctors.
He sat on a stool with his head down, while Valdez, who improved to 29-0 with 23 KOs, celebrated the victory with his corner.
Valdez is a former featherweight world champion who made six straight defences before moving up to 130 pounds (59kg) in 2019.
One of those defences was by a unanimous decision after he suffered a broken jaw in the fifth round but continued to fight on.
Berchelt, one of the longest reigning titleholders at 130 pounds, was looking to make his seventh straight defence but instead dropped to 37-2, with 33 KOs.
The only other time he has lost in his career was a knockout from another left hook.
Berchelt began the first round by establishing himself as the aggressor, moving forward and throwing jabs which backed Valdez up.
But the 30-year-old Valdez started to do some damage of his own in the second round as blood began to drip from Berchelt's nose.
Berchelt was saved by the bell in the fourth round after being hit by a left hook on the top of the head that left him wobbly-legged and disorientated with just over a minute to go.
Valdez kept the pressure on and smothered Berchelt with heavy blows. At one stage it looked like Berchelt was going down, but the ropes kept him on his feet.
The referee stopped the fight briefly to award Valdez a standing knockdown, leading to a 10-8 scoring round.
It took Berchelt a long time for the fog to clear, looking unsteady on his feet as he started the fifth.
Valdez landed another straight right hand on the button but couldn't put the champion down.
Berchelt appeared to gather his senses by the end of the fifth and was throwing punches again.
But it did not last more than a few rounds - despite Berchelt's height, weight and reach advantage, Valdez loaded up with every punch, and 29-year-old Berchelt was unable to counter the big blows.
In between the ninth and final round, his corner knew their boxer was beaten and asked him if he wanted to stop the fight.
Going out for the 10th was likely the biggest mistake of Berchelt's career.
He was flailing away late in the round and missed three punches in a row when Valdez seized the opening and hit him with a devastating left hook that ended the match with just one second to go.