Félix Verdejo Sánchez (born May 19, 1993) is a Puerto Rican professional boxer in the lightweight division. As an amateur he represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Summer Olympics as a lightweight.
Verdejo is currently ranked number one at lightweight by the WBO.
Verdejo was the winner at lightweight at the 2012 American Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament. Qualification was assured when Verdejo defeated a Mexican rival in the quarter-finals since the top-4 finishers qualified for the 2012 Olympics in his weight class.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Verdejo defeated Panamanian José Huertas in the first round with a score of 11-5. Then he defeated Tunisian Ahmed Mejri with a 16-7 score before losing to Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine in the quarterfinals 14-9.
Verdejo was also a Panamerican Youth Champion.
In October 2012, a 19 year old Verdejo became a professional by joining Top Rank, signing for an undisclosed amount that reportedly included a bonification $600,000 dollars.
Verdejo won the "New Hispanic Promise" category of the 2013 Premios Juventud on July 18 of that year. After closing his 2013 campaign, Verdejo was voted "Prospect of the Year" by BoxingScene and Top Rank. He also finished second in Yahoo!'s list, which noted that any other year he would have been a "slam dunk winner". In his first fight of 2014, Verdejo faced undefeated Lauro Alcantar, winning by knockout in only 21 seconds. Verdejo continued his success throughout 2014, going 7-0 with 6 KO, making his career record 16-0 (KO 12). ESPN.com would go on to name Verdejo 'Prospect of the Year' for 2014.
WBO Latino lightweight champion
Verdejo vs. Lopez, Najera
Verdejo would get his first chance to claim his first title, it was announced in January 2015. Top Rank announced Mexican Marco Antonio López (24-5, 15 KOs) as his opponent in a scheduled 8 round bout for February 28, however this was later changed to a 10-round bout and took place on April 25, due to verdejo injuring his hand. The fight was contested for the vacant WBO Latino lightweight title, which was only at stake for Verdejo as Lopez weight 4 pounds over the lightweight limit. The fight took place in Puerto Rico as Verdejo claimed the vacat title via a fifth-round technical knockout. At the time of stoppage, all three judges had it 40-36 in favour of Verdejo.
Verdejo made his first defence against undefeated American Ivan Najera (16-0, 8 KOs) on June 13 at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City. Verdejo, making his HBO debut, defeated Najera in a wide unanimous decision to retain the title. Verdejo scored two knockdowns and outpointed Najera with two judges scoring the bout 100-88 and one judge had it 99-89. Verdejo connected with 40% of his punches thrown compared to 30% from Najera.
Verdejo vs. Dos Santos, Silva
On December 11, Verdejo made a second successive defence of his WBO Latino title in Puerto Rico against Brazilian Josenilson Dos Santos (27-3, 17 KOs). In round two, Verdejo hit a big right hand that dropped dos Santos, although dos Santos beat the count, referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. stopped the fight after a count was given.
Verdejo started off 2016 with a defence against undefeated Brazilian William Silva (23-0, 14 KOs) on the undercard of Crawford-Lundy on February 27, 2016 at the Madison Square Garden Theater. The fight was televised on HBO. Verdejo landed 106 of 421 total punches as he cruised to a one sided 10 round unanimous decision win against Silva who connected 45 of 325 total punches. Two judges had it 100-90 for Verdejo and the third judge had it 99-91.
Verdejo vs. Rodriguez, Martínez
Verdejo would next fight two months later, returning to Puerto Rico against 29 year old Mexican Jose Luis Rodriguez (18-8, 11 KOs), who was on a four fight win streak, on April 16 in a 10-round bout at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente. Verdejo was originally supposed to fight Daniel Evangelista (18-6-2, 14 KOs), who withdrew from the fight due to tendonitis. Verdejo won a one sided 10 round unanimous decision win over Rodriguez. He won the fight by the judges scoring it 99-91, 99-91 and 98-92. Verdejo used his power and speed advantage to punish Rodriguez with big shots to the head and body throughout the ten rounds. With this win, Verdejo was guaranteed a return to HBO at the Madison Square Garden Theater on June 11 against lightweight contender Jose Felix Jr. (33-1-1, 25 KOs). Following this win, WBA ranked Verdejo at #2 lightweight and WBO ranked him #3.
Verdejo fought on the undercard of the title fight between WBO super featherweight champion Martinez vs. Lomachenko at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 11, 2016. He defended his Latino title against 2nd tier Mexican boxer Juan Jose Martinez (25-2, 17 KOs), who had won six fights in a row since a seventh-round technical decision loss to Rey Bautista in September 2014. Verdejo was supposed to fight Felix Jr. however a deal could not be made, according to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti, Felix asked for about 'four times the money available' for Verdejo's opponent. Verdejo, who had been criticized for his previous two decision wins, stopped Martinez in five rounds to retain his title. Verdejo was the aggressor, out-landing Martinez 90 to 36 and connected on 51 percent of his power shots. In Round 5, Martinez had a cut above his right eye and with 20 seconds remaining, Verdejo pinned Martinez against the ropes, before referee Michael Ortega jumped in at 2:40 and stopped the fight. Verdejo told his translator after the bout that he 'wants to fight the best'. Bob Arum spoke of the possibility of a world title fight between Verdejo and WBO champion Terry Flanagan for early November, however this would no longer be the case due to Verdejo suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident.
On December 6, 2016 Verdejo announced that he was close to returning to the ring, slated to be for February 3, 2017 in his native Puerto Rico. Weeks later Top Rank confirmed that he would indeed fight on that date against former super featherweight title challenger Oliver Flores (27-2-2, 17 KOs) at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan. Flores is coming off a stoppage loss in December 2015 to then WBA junior lightweight champion Takashi Uchiyama. The fight will air live on UniMas.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|22 fights||22 wins||0 losses|
|23||N/A||N/A||TBA||N/A||– (12)||Jun 10, 2017||Madison Square Garden Theater, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|23||N/A||N/A||Oliver Flores||N/A||– (10)||Feb 3, 2017||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||For WBO Latino lightweight title|
|22||Win||22–0||Juan José Martínez||TKO||5 (10), 2:40||June 11, 2016||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||Retained WBO Latino lightweight title|
|21||Win||21–0||José Luis Rodríguez||UD||10||April 16, 2016||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Retained WBO Latino lightweight title|
|20||Win||20–0||William Silva||UD||10||Feb 27, 2016||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||Retained WBO Latino lightweight title|
|19||Win||19–0||Josenilson Dos Santos||KO||2 (10), 2:26||Dec 11, 2015||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Retained WBO Latino lightweight title|
|18||Win||18–0||Iván Najera||UD||10||Jun 13, 2015||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||Retained WBO Latino lightweight title|
|17||Win||17–0||Marco Antonio López||TKO||5 (10), 1:45||Apr 25, 2015||Mario Morales Coliseum, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico||Won vacant WBO Latino lightweight title|
|16||Win||16–0||Karim El Ouazghari||TKO||4 (8), 1:27||Dec 13, 2014||2300 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|15||Win||15–0||Sergio Villanueva||KO||3 (8), 1:57||Oct 4, 2014||Bahía Shriners Events Center, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|14||Win||14–0||Oscar Bravo||UD||8||Aug 16, 2014||Héctor Solá Bezares Coliseum, Caguas, Puerto Rico|
|13||Win||13–0||Engelberto Valenzuela||KO||1 (6), 1:17||Jun 7, 2014||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|12||Win||12–0||Iván Zavala||KO||1 (6), 1:14||Apr 19, 2014||Bahía Shriners Events Center, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|11||Win||11–0||Juan Santiago||TKO||3 (6), 1:26||Mar 22, 2014||Roger Mendoza Coliseum, Caguas, Puerto Rico|
|10||Win||10–0||Lauro Alcantar||KO||1 (6), 0:21||Jan 25, 2014||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|9||Win||9–0||Roonayut Boonraksa||UD||6||Nov 24, 2013||The Venetian Macao, Macau, SAR|
|8||Win||8–0||Gary Eyer||TKO||2 (6), 2:53||Oct 6, 2013||Amway Center, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|7||Win||7–0||Guillermo Delgadillo||UD||6||Aug 10, 2013||Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|6||Win||6–0||Corben Page||TKO||4 (6), 1:48||May 18, 2013||Rubén Zayas Montañez Coliseum, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico|
|5||Win||5–0||Steve Gutierrez||TKO||1 (4), 1:51||Apr 13, 2013||Radio City Music Hall, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|4||Win||4–0||Martin Quezada||TKO||2 (4), 0:51||Mar 23, 2013||Coliseo Rubén Zayas Montañez, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico|
|3||Win||3–0||José Santiago||TKO||3 (4), 0:26||Feb 2, 2013||Coliseo Rubén Rodríguez, Bayamón, Puerto Rico|
|2||Win||2–0||Tomi Archambault||KO||1 (4), 0:21||Jan 19, 2013||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||Leonardo Chavez||UD||4||Dec 6, 2012||The Mirage, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.||Professional debut|
Felix Verdejo was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has two brothers and two sisters. Verdejo, the only boxer in the family, started boxing when he was nine years old.
On August 7, 2016, Verdejo was involved in a motorcycle accident while traveling from Fajardo to Carolina, Puerto Rico. At first listed in critical condition, he recuperated quickly at a local hospital. He was with a companion, who was uninjured. He suffered a head injury and small lacerations. Verdejo was released from hospital on August 19.