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Randy Caballero scores TKO against Jessy Cruz in Round 7 of bantamweight matchup

Bantamweight Randy Caballero, left, and Jesse Cruz are shown at their press weigh-in at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on Nov. 25, 2013.
Bantamweight Randy Caballero, left, and Jesse Cruz are shown at their press weigh-in at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on Nov. 25, 2013.
Gaston De Cardenas / Gaston De Cardenas

Special to the Miami Herald

Jessy Cruz’s dream at a career-turning bout ended with a punishing result.

Unbeaten prospect Randy Caballero scored a seventh round technical knockout win over Cruz, a Cutler Bay resident, Tuesday night at the BB&T Center. The bout was part of an eight-fight card.

Caballero wore down Cruz with punishing shots to the body as the 10-round bantamweight bout entered the middle rounds.

Late in the sixth, Caballero sent Cruz to the canvas with a right to the body. Caballero set up his knockdown punch, walking through Cruz’s combinations to the head.

Caballero (18-0, 15 KOs) continued to punish Cruz with body shots and straight rights to the head in the seventh. Cruz gamely countered with rights to the head but Caballero connected with additional combinations to the head Cruz to the canvas a second time.

The punch buildup slowed Cruz (10-6) and Caballero found the opening for an additional flurry of unanswered shots that pinned Cruz to the ropes. Referee James Warring spared Cruz from further punishment and stopped the fight at 2:59 of the round.

“The guy was tough, but I took all his shots,” Cruz said. “I thought my speed was frustrating but the body shot that knocked me down changed things.

“This is not going to demoralize me but only motivate me to continue fighting.”

Cruz had productive early rounds as he scored with lead lefts to the head. Cruz stood within punching range and against the pressuring Caballero.

“We knew he was going to come out fast but we stuck to our game plan of going to the body,” Caballero said. “I started wearing him down with my body shots.”

In the card’s main event, former light-heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver scored a fourth-round TKO win over Mike Sheppard.

Tarver (30-6, 21 KOs) dropped Sheppard (21-16-1) three times in the fourth. The third knockdown forced referee Sam Burgos to stop the heavyweight bout at 1:54 of the round.

Monday’s undercard

Luis Ortiz fulfilled his prefight prediction.

The Miami heavyweight knocked out Alex Gonzalez in the first round Tuesday night at BB&T Center.

Ortiz (18-0, 15 KOs) floored Gonzalez (20-9) with a flurry of unanswered combinations to the head. Referee James Warring counted Gonzalez out at 2:00 of the round.

“[Monday] in the news conference, I predicted I was going to get a knockout, and I fulfilled my prediction,” Ortiz said.

In another bout, light-heavyweight prospect Thomas Williams remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision win over veteran Yusef Mack.

Williams (15-0) was effective with rights to the body and combinations the head. Williams landed the telling shots throughout the 10-round distance.

Two judges scored the bout for Williams 98-92, and the third also had him winning 99-91.

The card’s main event between heavyweights Antonio Tarver and Mike Sheppard and Cutler Bay resident Jessy Cruz’s bantamweight bout against Randy Caballero were fought later Tuesday.

In other bouts: heavyweight Dominic Breazeale scored a TKO over Keith Barr at 2:29 of the second round; welterweight Erickson Lubin scored a TKO over Eric De Jesus at 35 seconds of the first round; junior-lightweight Albert Bell won by unanimous decision over Angel Hernandez; and featherweight Dennis Galarza scored a TKO when Harold Torres failed to answer the bell for the second round.

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