040325 nick casal3/dan cappellazzo photo/story/Nf- welterweight boxer Nick Casal at the NF gym.

The Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez fight might have been the most talked about, but it was Nick Casal’s effort in the final bout of Saturday’s ShoBox card that was perhaps most convincing.

Casal, a native of Niagara Falls, dropped James Wayka two times in the opening round and ultimately knocked him out at 1:15 of the second round at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif. The win moved Casal to 17-2-1 with 17 KOs in his career, while Wayka dropped to 15-7-0 with 8 KOs.

“It was a right uppercut followed by a left hook that dropped Wayka,” Nick’s father, Ray Casal said after speaking with his son immediately following the fight.

The bout didn’t end until early Sunday morning after being pushed back until six fights after the main event. Nick Casal fought at 142 pounds, which moved him up to the junior lightweight division after spending his last six fights at the lightweight division (135). Wayka, meanwhile, moved down from middleweight (160) for this bout.

Casal’s combination of speed, quickness and strength, though, was too much for Wayka.

“From everyone I talked to, he looked pretty strong at that weight,” Ray, a Lockport native, said of Nick. “That’s always been his best weight, even when he was younger.”

This was the first time in Nick’s career that Ray was not in his corner as either his trainer or cut man —the role Ray has assumed since Nick signed with promoter Gary Shaw and moved his training camp to Las Vegas.

“This was the first time I couldn’t make it because of my bad knees, but he didn’t need a cut man because he barely got hit,” Ray said with a laugh.

Nick was unavailable for comment Tuesday as he was traveling to Los Angeles to begin a sparring session with Alfonso Gomez, who gained stardom after his effort on “The Contender.” Ray said Nick will spend the next two weeks or so helping Gomez prepare for his much-anticipated fight with Miguel Cotto on April 12.

Nick will then return to Las Vegas to continue training with Steve Rolands and his own training camp. Ray said talks have already begun for an upcoming ShoBox fight on May 3.

“This should be a big fight, hopefully a main event,” Ray said.

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