LAS VEGAS – Vincent Astrolabio’s ascent within the bantamweight division continued in spectacular style Saturday evening.

The Filipino contender knocked out Russia’s Nikolai Potapov within the sixth spherical of their IBF bantamweight elimination match at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Astrolabio (18-3, 13 KOs) dropped Potapov 3 times and have become the primary opponent to cease Potapov (23-3-1, 11 KOs) inside the space within the opener of Showtime’s tripleheader.

Referee Robert Hoyle stopped their 12-round combat at 1:26 of the sixth spherical as a result of Potapov didn’t attain his ft in time to beat Hoyle’s depend.

Astrolabio secured a 118-pound title shot as a result of he’s now the IBF’s primary contender within the bantamweight division.

The 25-year-old Astrolabio’s victory over Potapov made him the IBF’s necessary challenger for undefeated, totally unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs). Potapov entered the ring ranked third among the many IBF’s 118-pound contenders, three spots atop Astrolabio.

Japan’s Inoue would possibly transfer as much as the 122-pound division for his subsequent combat. If Inoue provides up his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts, Astrolabio may face second-ranked Emmanuel Rodriguez (21-2, 13 KOs, 1 NC), who misplaced the IBF belt to Inoue, for that title.

Astrolabio upset former two-division champion Guillermo Rigondeaux in his earlier combat, a 10-rounder Astrolabio gained by unanimous determination. The underdog dropped the Cuban southpaw within the eighth spherical, which was the distinction on all three scorecards (95-94, 95-94, 95-94) on February 26 in Dubai.

Potapov, 32, had gained three fights in a row after Joshua Greer Jr.’s controversial 12-round, majority-decision victory over him in July 2019 at Prudential Heart in Newark, New Jersey.

It was evident within the sixth spherical Saturday evening that Astrolabio’s energy had taken its toll on Potapov. After a proper hand by Astrolabio landed, Potapov took a knee, which accounted for Astrolabio’s third knockdown of their combat.

A battered Potapov didn’t try to beat Hoyle’s depend.

Potapov’s left hook landed flush early within the fifth spherical. A right-left mixture by Astrolabio made Potapov take a knee with just below 2:10 remaining within the fifth spherical, although.

Simply earlier than the fourth spherical ended, Astrolabio blasted Potapov with a proper hand, however Potapov shook his head to point he wasn’t harm by that punch.

Hoyle known as for time simply earlier than the halfway mark of the fourth spherical and warned each boxers for unlawful techniques. About 30 seconds later, Hoyle stopped the motion once more and admonished Astrolabio for rabbit punches.

Potapov caught Astrolabio with a counter left hook that knocked him backward with 1:18 to go within the third spherical. Astrolabio drilled Potapov with a proper hand a number of seconds after the third spherical started.

With below 30 seconds to go within the opening spherical, Astrolabio’s left hook appeared to graze Potapov, who went down. Potapov shortly obtained to his ft, however Hoyle known as it a knockdown. Astrolabio continued to land the more durable punches all through the second spherical, when a lower opened round Potapov’s proper eye.

Potapov went down 32 seconds into their bout, however Hoyle dominated that it wasn’t a knockdown, presumably as a result of Astrolabio hit him behind his head.

Keith Idec is a senior author/columnist for He will be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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