Luis Alberto Lopez is now officially a British assassin.
The Mexican won the IBF 126-pound title by beating Josh Warrington last December in Leeds. On Saturday, in his first save, he stopped Michael Conlan with one shot in Conlan’s hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The fight at the SSE Arena was competitive for the majority of over four rounds as both men engaged in what quickly turned into a shootout.
Lopez (28-2, 16 KOs) appeared to hurt Conlan (18-2, 9 KOs) with a series of hard punches in the middle of the 3rd round. The two-time Olympian managed to survive the attack.
However, he couldn’t stand what happened in round 5.
The two were engaged in an exchange when Lopez caught Conlan with a devastating short right hand, which laid Conlan flat on his back and prompted his trainer Adam Booth to immediately throw in the towel.
The official time is 1:14 of Round 5.
Conlan lay on the canvas for several minutes before standing up as concerned family members and hometown fans watched.
“I knew he underestimated the strength,” Lopez said through an interpreter. “I am more powerful than him, I am stronger. I also have speed and great footwork.
Lopez is now able to challenge one of the remaining title holders: Leigh Wood (WBA), who regained the title by ahead of Mauricio Lara on Saturday; Rey Vargas (WBC) and Robeisy Ramirez (WBO).
Conlan has been stopped in two of his last four fights. Wood sent him to the ropes in the 12th and final round last March.