Romanian-born Alexandru Marin of Bethesda scored a second-round knockout of Michael Ruiz Jr. on Saturday, ending their junior bantamweight (115 pounds) bout at the 44-second mark at the Masonic Temple in Norfolk, Virginia, and setting himself up for a potential July title shot against left-handed International Boxing Organization champion Gideon Buthelezi.
The 26-year-old Marin (16-0, 11 knockouts) registered his sixth stoppage victory in his past of eight bouts, flooring Ruiz (12-5-3, 4 KOs) in the final round. Ruiz, 28, was knocked out for the only time since January 2012, when he was TKO’d in the seventh by undefeated Matthew Villanueva.
“It’s not just Alex won, but the way he won that was impressive, stopping a guy who had gone the distance in draws against top 20 guys and who was peaking in his own career,” said Bruce Babashan, who trains Marin out of the Rockville-based Champion’s Boxing & Fitness gym.
“Some guy make leaps in their careers, and for Alex, this was a step up in the way that you want to see a fighter step up. We would have been happy with a convincing win, but this was an exceptional performance at a very high level against a tough opponent.”