ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Terence Crawford landed a stunning right that Thomas Dulorme never really saw.
Soon after that, Crawford was a two-time WBO champion, winning the latest title in his first fight since moving up in class.
Crawford won the vacant WBO junior welterweight title with a sixth-round technical knockout Saturday night, knocking down Dulorme three times in quick fashion after that big blow.
“I knew I hurt him, I felt it,” Crawford said. “I knew he was hurt real bad. I wanted to just jump on him. … He was woozy.”
With Dulorme stunned, Crawford hit him again and knocked him down for the first time. Then Crawford delivered a flurry of punches, leading to another knockdown. When Dulorme got back up, Crawford unloaded again — and the fight was stopped as Dulorme staggered against the ropes near his corner.
“Basically a shot that I didn’t see, and the shot got me,” Dulorme said through an interpreter.
Crawford remained undefeated, winning as a heavy favorite in his first fight moving in the 140-pound class. He won the WBO lightweight title 13 months ago and defended in the 135-pound division twice in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
The scheduled 12-round fight in North Texas came a week before Crawford, now 26-0 with 18 knockouts, is scheduled to be in New York to accept his 2014 fighter of the year award from the Boxing Writers Association of America.
After the fight ended, promoter Bob Arum shouted “That’s why he’s the fighter of the year!”
Dulorme, the 27-year-old Puerto Rican, is 22-2. He had won his last six bouts since moving down in class after being knocked out by Luis Carlos Abregu at 147 pounds in a welterweight fight in October 2012.
“It was a great opportunity for us,” Dulorme said. “It wasn’t the best night. We were winning in the cards, it’s something that basically happened. … We did the fight that we came here to do.”
Crawford seemed measured in his approach the first two rounds against the quick-starting Dulorme, who entered the ring wearing a gladiator helmet and breastplate. Dulorme was clearly the aggressor early against Crawford, who went with a red Nebraska Cornhuskers cap for his entry.
But in round 3, there was a quick exchange of punches, and later a hard body blow by Crawford.
There were times in the fourth and fifth rounds when Crawford either smiled or shook his head after taking blows from Dulorme. Crawford taunted him, and at the end of the fourth had him back into a corner and delivered two big rights.
Crawford was also smiling at the end of the fifth round, then came out in the sixth and ended the fight.
“Just having fun with it,” he said. “When I’m having fun, I don’t think nobody can beat me because that means I’m in my rhythm.”
Crawford’s trainer, Brian McIntyre, said the first couple of rounds were just a matter of Crawford getting his timing down. McIntyre said they knew the punching Dulorme would wear out, though he lasted longer than they expected.
Arum this week called Crawford a new superstar on the horizon, and said this fight a “very, very crucial first step” for Crawford to join the truly elite group of fighters.
Arum was at the bout halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth that came only two weeks before the long-awaited fight in Las Vegas between another of his boxers, Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In an earlier eight-round lightweight matchup of previously unbeaten fighters, Ismail Muwendo from Minneapolis improved to 17-0 with a majority decision over Rolando Chinea from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. One judge had the fight as a draw, while the others had it in favor of Muwendo. Chinea dropped to 10-1-1.
Benjamin “The Blaxican” Whitaker from San Antonio improved to 9-1 as a pro with a unanimous decision over Skender Halili, a boxer from nearby Fort Worth whose had won each of his previous eight professional fights by knockout.
Michigan’s Anthony Barnes won a unanimous decision over Fort Worth’s Martinez Porter in a six-round super middleweight bout.
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