Single-minded in intent, with a glare as piercing as his many wallops, Jemal Hinton last night retained his World Boxing Council Continental Americas super bantamweight title with a fifth-round knockout of Rafael Ortega that was striking in its fury and simplicity.
Hinton (15-0, 12 knockouts) used a potent left-right-left combination to send his opponent reeling on the ropes. Ortega (11-5) then dropped to one knee. He strained to rise as referee Carl Milligan started the count, but he soon collapsed to the canvas in defeat.
"I wasn't anticipating how long the fight would go," Hinton said. "I just did what I had to do to win."
The evening also included the successful U.S. debuts of three fighters from the Soviet Union.
Hinton, an Eleanor Roosevelt High School graduate, awakened the estimated 800 on hand at the Grand Hyatt Hotel by subduing Ortega with a flurry of combinations in the fourth round. Out of control at intervals, Hinton nonetheless connected with several blows that staggered Ortega.
Ortega, 21, tired quickly, unable to withstand the endless stream of body blows.
Hinton seemed to build up strength through the bout.
"After he started to fatigue I started with the body blows," Hinton said. "The head shots set him up for the body blows after that."
Hinton, 21, managed a slight edge through Round 1 on the strength of his left jabs, then sent Ortega twirling to the canvas with a sharp left just before the end of Round 2.
"I am happy that it was a good fight," Ortega said. "He was a good opponent."
Competition for the Continental Americas belt is limited to boxers from North and South America, promoter and ex-WBC official Steve Crosson said.
By far the most impressive of the three Soviets was D'Mitry Epishin of Perm. The bantamweight held Washington's Dion McIntyre -- in his first pro fight -- at bay with his left arm while at the same time pummeling him with his right. Referee Sylvester Stevens saw enough by 1:32 of Round 2 and stopped the bout, raising Epishin's pro record to 4-0.
In a fight that had little action but one fearsome punch, Moscow's Victor Potekhin stopped Washington's Dexter Mason with a first-round technical knockout at 1:58.
Another Soviet, 147-pounder Alexander Buskanow, used a slow, deliberate style for four rounds to claim a unanimous decision over Marvin Lawson of North Carolina. Buskanow increased his professional record to 5-0.
A pair of Alexandria lightweights also scored unanimous decisions over District boxers. Lionel Butler won his pro debut over Aaron Evans (2-3), and Anthony Suggs (5-0) bested James Barnes (2-1).
Detroit's Theotrice Chambers (3-0) knocked out New Mexico's Martin Mendoza (2-2) at 1:30 of the first round of their bantamweight matchup. Chambers used little energy in dispatching his foe, who lay on the canvas, more shocked with the quick result than hurt.