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Nico Hernandez captures IBA flyweight World title in 5th professional fight


*MULVANE, Kan. (May 21, 2018**)* — History was made this past Saturday night
on the “SUPERBOX LIVE: High Stakes” pay-per-view card, when 2016 Olympic
bronze medalist and local hero, *Nico Hernandez*, knocked out Hungarian
challenger *Szilveszter “The Silent Assassin” Kanalas* in the opening round
to capture the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Flyweight
World Championship in only his fifth professional fight, at Kansas Star
Arena in Mulvane, Kansas.

In the first world title fight ever held in Kansas, Hernandez (5-0, 4 KOs)
overwhelmed Kanalas (14-7, 9 KOs), the former World Boxing Federation (WBF)
super flyweight world champion, to become the youngest (22) IBA world
champion ever, as well as setting the record for the fewest pro fights
needied to become IBA world titlist.

*SUPERBOX LIVE: High Stakes* was launched as Super Channel’s new live
boxing series, *SUPERBOX LIVE*, in association with *KO Night Boxing LLC*,
and it aired live exclusively in Canada on Super Channel.

Integrated Sports Media distributed “SUPERBOX LIVE: High Stakes” in the
United States on cable, satellite and digital pay-per-view as it was
live-streamed worldwide on FITE.TV <fite.tv/> app and website
(excluding Canada).

Hernandez was aggressive from the opening bell, pounding Kanalas’ head and
body. A Hernandez left hook to the body really hurt Kanalas, who went down
from a right that followed the vicious liver shot. Kanalas beat Hall of Fame
*Steve Smoger*’s count, and it was only a matter of time before Hernandez
would end the fight. It came soon, right after another body-and-head
combination put the over-matched Hungarian on the mat for the second and
final time.

“A lot of people underestimate my power,” Hernandez said after the fight.
“I believe that once he felt my power, I don’t think he wanted it anymore.
I felt like I took his heart away. I was patient, I wanted it to go a few
rounds to see what he had, but I took his heart away. I can’t really be
disappointed because I am a world champion now.”

“Nico was explosive Saturday night and he showed killer instinct,”
promoter *John
Andersen*commented. “He was going to box, but I think he smelled fear, and
Nico got into Kanalas’ head. He sensed it and jumped on him.”

Before he left the ring, Hernandez took the microphone in the center of the
ring and called out three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic bronze
medalist, *”Irish”* *Paddy Barnes* (5-0, 1 KO), who was the favored to win
a gold medal in the flyweight division at the 2016 Olympics. He was
eliminated in the round of 16 and Hernandez took home the bronze medal.
“There’s a bronze medalist from (Northern) Ireland, Paddy Barnes, and
that’s who I’d really love to fight.”

“I think that’s a fight we should start a conversation about,” Andersen
remarked. “It’s not line Barnes is 21 (he’s 31) and I don’t know of a lot
of 30 or older flyweights. It makes a lot of sense and can be a big fight.
They’re both Olympic bronze medalist, already fought in scheduled 10 and 12
round fights, and have belts. (Barnes is the WBO Intercontinental flyweight
champ). Nico needs to step up in terms of competition, too. I think they
should get in the ring and then we can see what happens.

“If they don’t want to make this fight right away, maybe we can build it up
by putting them on the same card, and then fight next year. This fight
makes a lot of sense for both fighters and Nico has already said he wants
to fight Barnes.”

Hernandez joined reigning IBA world champions, light heavyweight *Sergey
Kovalev* and junior middleweight *Mark DeLuca*, as well as past IBA world
champions such as Hall of Famers *Oscar de la Hoya*, *George Foreman*, *Roberto
Duran *and *Arturo Gatti*, in addition to stars *Roy Jones, Jr.,* *Bernard
Hopkins*, *Shane Mosely*, *James Toney*, *Mikkel Kessler*, *Eric
Morales*, *Diego
Corrales*, *Jose Luis Castillo*, *Glen Johnson* and *Antonio Tarver*.

2011 Russia Junior Championships gold medalist *Andrey Afonin* (6-0, 3 KOs)
kept his undefeated record in tact when *Pedro “El Reguilete” Rodriguez* (23-4,
19 KOs), the Cuban native and former World Boxing Association (WBA)
Fedalatin cruiserweight champion, was unable to answer the bell in the
third round of the co-featured event.

Unbeaten Ukrainian heavyweight *Oleksandr Teslenko* (13-0, 11 KOs),
promoted by DiBella Entertainment and fighting out of Toronto, stopped
*Terrance
“Big Jim” Marbra* (9-6, 7 KOs) in the second round.

Undefeated Washington featherweight *Victor Morales, Jr.* (9-0, 5 KOs) was
too much for *David Berna* (15-4, 14 KOs), of Hungary, who complained of an
elbow injury and lost by way of a second-round technical knockout, in the
televised opener.

In the television swing bout, which was held prior to the main event,
popular Wichita junior welterweight *Jeff Strum* (3-0, 2 KOs) kept the
train rollin’ with a second-round knockout of Nigeria-native *Archie Weah*
(2-11).

In the most competitive fight of the night, as well as the lone match that
went the complete distance, St. Louis cruiserweight *Leroy Jones* (3-3, 2
KOs) won a four-round unanimous decision over Kansas City, KS favorite *Chris
Harris *(2-3-2, 2 KOs).