Kenny Baysmore, the U.S. Boxing Association junior lightweight champion, stopped Antonio Rutledge in the third round of a scheduled 10-round nontitle fight last night before 500 at the Sheraton Lanham.

After Baysmore (19-0, 18 knockouts) knocked down Rutledge (24-24, 12) three times in the third round, referee Frankie Kelly ended the bout at the 1:53 mark and awarded Baysmore a technical knockout.

After a cautious first round for both boxers, Baysmore, a 24-year-old Washington native, knocked Rutledge to the canvas midway into the second round. Rutledge, from Columbus, Ohio, continued fighting, holding his arms high to cover his face while Baysmore delivered a flurry of left and right punches to Rutledge's stomach. Seconds before the end of the round, Baysmore again floored Rutledge with a hard left to the stomach.

"His body appeared to be pretty weak, so I went to his stomach," Baysmore said. "I was able to get to his body easier."

Baysmore stayed relaxed and in control at the beginning of the third round, throwing left punches to the stomach with an occasional right to Rutledge's head. Midway through the round, Baysmore sent Rutledge to the mat. As soon as the fighting resumed, Rutledge was down again.

The two fighters exchanged punches once more and 20 seconds later, Baysmore floored Rutledge for the third and last time.

"I was trying to use my left to set up the right because he is a southpaw," said Baysmore, who will defend his title against Myron Taylor in Atlantic City on March 4.

Earlier, in the co-feature event, junior lightweight Scott Page of Hillcrest Heights (2-0) spoiled the debut of Washington's John Foster with a knockout with only 2:11 gone in a scheduled four-round bout.