Xander Zayas maintains impressive winning run, and wants to send a message to the 154-pound division

Xander Zayas returned to the ring Saturday and extended his winning run to 17 wins with 10 knockouts after beating Roberto Valenzuela Jr. The 21-year-old Puerto Rican, who has grown from prospect to contender in recent years, established his authority early as he dropped Valenzuela as early as the opening round. He scored a second knockdown in the first, cut his opponent in the third, before eventually forcing the referee to intervene and wave the bout off in the fifth. “I didn’t think he was going to stop bleeding from his nose," Zayas said per Boxing Scene, regarding the cut. The youngster added that he talked about it with his dad and assistant trainer Orlando Garcia between rounds. "We knew that it was a matter of time." Alongside other rising like Jared Anderson and Keyshawn Davis, Zayas is one of Top Rank's most promising boxers. The fighter said he wanted to send a message with his performance — that it's only a matter of time before he further climbs the world rankings, and pushes for a world title shot. The only question remaining, perhaps, is just when that world title shot arrives. “I came here to accomplish a goal," Zayas said. "I came here to let everybody know at 154 pounds that I’m coming for everything. "They said he was a power puncher, and I dominated tonight. I’m a contender now at 154 pounds. Whenever Top Rank gives me the opportunity, I’ll be ready for a world title."