Reymundo Beltran annihilated Takahiro Ao in the second round Friday evening at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, the main event of the first card of promoter Top Rank’s new series, “Metro PCS Friday Night Knockout,” televised on cable network TruTV. The bout was for the vacant WBO lightweight title, which was vacated by WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford. However, the belt was only on the line for Ao, as Beltran weighed in at 136 pounds, one pound over the lightweight limit, and was ruled ineligible to win the vacant belt.
Had Beltran made weight, it would have marked his third world title fight in his past four fights. In September 2013, he fought Ricky Burns to a draw in a fight that most people saw him winning. After Terence Crawford handily defeated Ricky Burns via unanimous decision, Beltran got his shot at the Omaha, Nebraska native, who dominated in front of his hometown fans.
Beltran dominated from the opening bell, walking down Ao down with right hands, and forcing the former WBC World super featherweight champion to clinch in the early segments.
In the second round, Beltran clocked Ao with a counter right hand and his body language spelled trouble. He was gawking in disbelief and barely beat the count to continue. Once referee Tony Weeks signaled to allow the action to continue, Ao was on the run, but also yelling ‘ouchie’ as Beltran refused to relent. Before matters turned worse, Tony Weeks stepped in to a call a halt to the action.
The future is in the air for Ao, who suffered his first career knockout defeat. For Beltran, it could signal that it’s time for him to move up to 140 lbs. and follow in the foot steps of Terence Crawford, especially after failing to make weight.
It was a disappointment to see the main event end so prematurely, but all the credit goes to Reymundo Beltran for landing the precise shots.