Junior Lightweight World Championship Fights & Title Claims
Full junior lightweight fight details from 1921 to June 2016 (plus junior feather, feather, and light) are available in a definitive companion book:
Full Fight Details from 2000 Onwards:
20 October 2018. Tevin Farmer w co 5 James Tennyson.
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.
3 August 2018. Tevin Farmer w pts 12 Billy Dib.
Venue: Technology Park, Redfern, NSW, Australia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ignatius Missailidis.
Scorecards: 118-109, 119-108, 120-107.
28 July 2018. Masayuki Ito w pts 12 Christopher Diaz.
Venue: Civic Centre, Kissimmee, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Frank Gentile.
Scorecards: 116-111, 117-110, 118-109.
23 June 2018. Miguel Berchelt w rsc 3 Jonathan Victor Barros.
Venue: Zamna Poliforum, Merida, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.
21 April 2017. Gervonta Davis w rsc 3 Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Benny Esteves Jnr.
10 February 2018. Miguel Berchelt w rsc 3 Maxwell Awuku.
Venue: The Bullring, Cancun, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hector Afu.
9 December 2017. Vasyl Lomachenko w rtd 6 Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Willis.
Having won the WBA lightweight title, on 24 May Lomachenko informed the WBO that he was handing in his junior lightweight belt and would be remaining in the higher weight division.
9 December 2017. Kenichi Ogawa w pts 12 Tevin Farmer.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Events Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Scorecards: 115-113, 116-112, 112-116.
Ogawa was stripped of his IBF title on 19 April 2018 after testing positive for synthetic testosterone.
5 August 2017. Vasyl Lomachenko w rtd 7 Miguel Marriaga.
Venue: Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles, California. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jack Reiss.
15 July 2017. Jezreel Corrales w tdec 10 Robinson Castellanos.
Venue: Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Jerry Cantu.
Scorecards: 94-93, 96-92, 94-94.
On 21 October, Corrales lost his WBA title on the scales when booked to meet Alberto Machado at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino. The fight went ahead for the vacant title, and after Corrales was knocked out inside eight rounds Machado became the new champion. Come April 2018, however, the WBA were claiming that Machado was the ‘second tier’ champion and that Gervonta Davis and Jesus Marcelo Andrew Cuellar would be contesting the full title on 21 April.
15 July 2017. Miguel Berchelt w pts 12 Takashi Miura.
Venue: Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Raul Caiz Snr.
Scorecards: 119-108, 120-109, 116-111.
20 May 2017. Gervonta Davis w rsc 3 Liam Walsh.
Venue: Copper Box Arena, Hackney, London, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Michael Alexander.
On 26 August, Davis forfeited his IBF title on the scales, and although his fight against Francisco Fonseca went ahead the latter was unable to take advantage of the situation when knocked out in the seventh round at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
8 April 2017. Vasyl Lomachenko w rtd 9 Jason Sosa.
Venue: MGM National Harbour, Oxon Hill, Maryland, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Kenny Chevalier.
28 January 2017. Miguel Berchelt w rsc 11 Francisco Vargas.
Venue: Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.
14 January 2017. Gervonta Davis w rsc 7 Jose Pedraza.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ricky Gonzalez.
31 December 2016. Jezreel Corrales w pts 12 Takashi Uchiyama.
Venue: Ota-City Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Mark Nelson.
Scorecards: 117-110, 115-112, 113-114.
Jason Sosa relinquished the WBA second tier title on 16 February 2017 so that he could concentrate on a crack at the WBO champion, Vasyl Lomachenko. At the same time, the WBA announced that they were making progress in eliminating second tier champions from their listings.
1 December 2016. Vasyl Lomachenko w rtd 7 Nicholas Walters.
Venue: Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.
11 June 2016. Vasyl Lomachenko w co 5 Roman Martinez.
Venue: Madison Square Garden Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Danny Schiavone.
Fight Summary: As the reigning WBO featherweight title holder, the two-time Olympic champion Lomachenko (129¾) became a two-weight world champion after Martinez (129½), making his second defence, was counted out at 1.09 of the fifth. Taking the opening four rounds with his speed and accurate southpaw punches keeping Martinez on the back foot, Lomachenko stepped it up in the fifth, a left uppercut and a right to the head being the final two blows of the contest. Lomachenko handed in his WBO featherweight belt a few days later.
Miguel Berchelt successfully defended his WBO 'interim' title when knocking out Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo inside four rounds at the Soraya Jimenez Sports Centre, Los Reyes La Paz, Mexico on 16 July 2016. The WBO ‘interim’ title became vacant after Berchelt stepped up to win the WBC title on 28 January 2017.
4 June 2016. Francisco Vargas drew 12 Orlando Salido.
Venue: StubHub Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Scorecards: 115-113, 114-114, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Not a fight for the purist, both men giving it everything and more, the champion held on to his title by a majority draw in a contest where he landed 316 power punches to Salido’s 299 according to CompuBox. Surprisingly, there were no knockdowns in a fight in which there were so many hard shots thrown. However, there was plenty of heavy in-fighting as the oncoming Salido (130) leaned in on Vargas (129½), who was badly cut over both eyes, and both men had their successes. First one then the other seemed to have the upper hand before Vargas made up any lost ground when winning three of the last four rounds on the cards. It was clear from the injuries sustained that Vargas would need some time away from boxing.
27 April 2016. Jezreel Corrales w rsc 2 Takashi Uchiyama.
Venue: Ota-City Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Robert Hoyle.
Fight Summary: Having made eleven successful defences the 36-year-old Uchiyama (129½) came apart at the seams against Corrales (129¾), the 'interim' champion, when being stopped at 2.59 of the second on the ‘three knockdowns in a round’ ruling. On the defensive almost from the opening bell Uchiyama was assailed early on in the second by his southpaw opponent, being dropped by a left to the jaw before suffering two further two-fisted knockdowns that took him out of the contest.
Jason Sosa took over Javier Fortuna's WBA 'second tier' title when stopping the latter inside 11 rounds at the Capital Gym, Beijing, China on 24 June.
16 April 2016. Jose Pedraza w pts 12 Stephen Smith.
Venue: Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Eddie Claudio.
Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 117-110.
Fight Summary: After making a reasonable start the challenger then dropped several rounds as he allowed Pedraza (129) to do the lion's share of the work. With Pedraza coming in behind the jab to get body punches off as Smith (129) concentrated on single shots, it was not until the fourth that the latter got going. Continuing to make his way into the fight, Smith was throwing both hands by the eighth before running into a right to the jaw that saw him touch the canvas with both gloves. Although Pedraza tired in the latter rounds, Smith was unable to take advantage.
31 December 2015. Takashi Uchiyama w rsc 3 Oliver Flores.
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Displaying an accurate left jab from the opening bell, Uchiyama (129½) had his outreached southpaw challenger just where he wanted him before mixing his shots up in the second when attacking the body. At this stage of the fight Flores (129¼) had hardly showed. Into the third it was more of the same before the referee called a halt at 1.47 of the session after Flores had been floored by a terrific left hook to the body that followed solid blows delivered from both hands.
21 November 2015. Francisco Vargas w rsc 9 Takashi Miura.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Fight Summary: Although the southpaw champion's intentions were clear from the start, it was Vargas (129½) who tasted first blood when almost putting his man over in the opening session to earn a 10-8 from one of the judges. However, Miura (130) did not take long to get back in contention, cutting Vargas under the right eye in the third and smashing him to the floor with a right to the jaw in the fourth. With Vargas' eye damage worsening he pulled himself back into the fight, but by the eighth he looked a lost cause. Then, in the ninth, as Miura came in for the kill Vargas pulled out two vicious rights and a left that deposited him on the floor, and although making it to his feet he was being battered without response when the referee called a halt on the 1.31 mark.
3 October 2015. Jose Pedraza w pts 12 Edner Cherry.
Venue: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Randy Jarvis.
Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 112-116.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Pedraza (129) was under a bit of pressure at the start before coming on to score with straight blows to the head while making Cherry (129) miss. Having dropped four of the opening five rounds as Pedraza came on with solid blows from both hands, Cherry found his feet in the fifth before landing heavily in the sixth and seventh when showing the champion that he was not going to go away without a fight. After switching to southpaw in the eighth Pedraza gave Cherry some problems, but was still being outhit until settling down in the final three sessions with his better quality winning the rounds on two of the cards.
12 September 2015. Roman Martinez drew 12 Orlando Salido.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Scorecards: 115-113, 113-115, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In a return contest that had to happen after their previous go, this time round it was so tight that even the judges could not separate them. At the final bell there were many who felt that Salido (130) had regained his old title, having made much of the running when throwing over a 1,000 punches, but it was Martinez (129½) who held on to his belt. Both men made a fast start, and in the third both scored knockdowns, Salido two-fistedly putting Martinez down from what the champion saw as a slip before he got up to smash the Mexican to the deck with a big right. From thereon in it was action all the way, but although Salido landed heavily to Martinez's head and body on numerous occasions two of the judges failed to see that he had done enough at the final bell.
On 12 March 2016, at the Zamna Poliforum, Merida, Mexico, Miguel Berchelt stopped George Jupp inside six rounds to win the vacant WBO 'interim' title.
13 June 2015. Jose Pedraza w pts 12 Andrey Klimov.
Venue: Bartow Arena, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Charlie Fitch.
Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Contested for the title vacated by Rances Barthelemy, it was the switch-hitting Pedraza (129¾) who came through to beat Klimov (129) decisively when awarded a virtual shut-out points verdict after 12 rounds of good action. Although Pedraza was always in control, moving in and out with fast scoring blows, Klimov landed heavily in the fourth with a solid uppercut before being cut to ribbons in the sixth when the pair went toe-to-toe. The latter stages saw Pedraza going into southpaw mode while cruising to the finishing line as Klimov did his best to make a fight of it.
6 May 2015. Takashi Uchiyama w rsc 2 Jomthong Chuwatana.
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Fight Summary: Coming out fast and looking the business, the 35-year-old Uchiyama (129½) soon had his southpaw challenger on the ropes under a steady attack. Having picked up a badly swollen right eye in the opener and realising his chances were already limited, Chuwatana (129) went toe-to-toe with Uchiyama in the second before a crashing right to the jaw laid him out on the canvas with no hope of beating the count. Recognising Chuwatana's predicament, the referee stopped the contest immediately to allow him medical attention, the stoppage being timed at 1.15.
At the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA on 29 May, Javier Fortuna outpointed Bryan Vasquez on points over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBA 'second tier' title. Fortuna followed that up with a tenth-round stoppage win over Carlos Ivan Velasquez in a first defence of the title at the Palmo Casino & Resort, Pearl Theatre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 29 September.
Emanuel Lopez successfully defended his WBA 'interim' crown when stopping Rolando Giono inside ten rounds at the Cock-fighting Arena, Comitan, Mexico on 20 June. Lopez was stripped on 23 October after pulling out of a defence against Miguel Roman. The vacant WBA 'interim' title was next won by Jezreel Corrales when he forced Juan Antonio Rodriguez to retire at the end of the 11th round at the Roberto Duran Arena, Panama City, Panama on 17 December.
1 May 2015. Takashi Miura w rsc 3 Billy Dib.
Venue: Ota-City Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hector Afu.
Fight Summary: The contest quickly got going as the aggressive southpaw champion moved in on Dib (130) from the opening bell, only to find the latter an elusive target and unwilling to trade. It was clear that Dib would have to stand his ground sooner or later, but he continued to give Miura (130) the run-around into the third. Eventually catching up with Dib, pinning him on the ropes in the third, two tremendous left-hand smashes to the face from Miura dropped the Australian in a neutral corner. Although Dib made it to his feet, the referee stopped the fight on the 1.29 mark when it was clear that he was still groggy.
11 April 2015. Roman Martinez w pts 12 Orlando Salido.
Venue: Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Hiram Rivera.
Scorecards: 115-110, 116-109, 114-111.
Fight Summary: Defending the title he had been handed after Mikey Garcia's abdication, Salido (130) had a tough time of it against a man looking to get his hands on the belt for the third time. Having come back in the second after dropping the opener, Salido was driven through the ropes in the third by a resurgent Martinez (129¼) before throwing the latter down. Bouncing up, Martinez quickly had Salido down from a right to the jaw, and although the champion came back hard two more heavy right hands smashed him down again in the fifth. Despite Salido coming out swinging in the sixth, by the eighth the pair were going toe-to-toe until the tenth saw Martinez get back to his boxing to make sure of the win. Being deducted a point in the 11th for low blows Salido lost any chance he had of retaining the title then and there.
31 December 2014. Takashi Uchiyama w rtd 9 Israel Perez.
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rafael Ramos.
Fight Summary: Making his ninth defence, Uchiyama (129¾) overcame a tough start after Perez (129¼) caught him with some solid blows by responding in kind as the fight progressed. Although Perez came back strongly in round five through to the seventh despite having a point deducted in the sixth for going low, Uchiyama powered back with hard punches from both hands. Getting on top of Perez in the eighth, never leaving him alone as he weakened, Uchiyama battered away at the tough Argentine in the ninth until his corner retired him immediately the session had ended.
In a fight to find a successor for Bryan Vasquez, who was stripped of the WBA 'interim' title, Emanuel Lopez stopped Carlos Padilla inside nine rounds at the Fairground Arena, Mesoamericana, Tapachula, Mexico on 21 March 2015.
22 November 2014. Takashi Miura w rsc 6 Edgar Puerta.
Venue: International Swimming Pool, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Massimo Barrovecchio.
Fight Summary: Although Puerta (128¾) started aggressively, the southpaw champion soon had him in his sights before dropping him with a solid left to the face in the opening session. With Puerta still coming forward in the second, it was not until the third that Miura (130) again turned loose with heavy left hands leaving their mark on the Mexican, who was cut on the left eye a round later and attacked with hurtful body shots from thereon in. Being dominated and fading fast in the fifth, Puerta was really up against it, and in the sixth after being hurt by a cracking left that was followed up by a barrage of blows from both hands the referee stepped in on the 2.15 mark to save the badly battered challenger from taking further punishment.
4 October 2014. Rances Barthelemy w pts 12 Fernando David Saucedo.
Venue: Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 120-108.
Fight Summary: Boxing well within himself the champion did as he pleased against Saucedo (130), winning round after round on his way to a shut-out points victory. There were no thrills or spills as Barthelemy (130) did what he had to in order to have an easy night's work. What Barthelemy did show, however, was that although he possessed much skill he would need to meet a better class of opposition in future contests.
Barthelemy relinquished the IBF title in February 2015, having struggled at the weight.
10 July 2014. Rances Barthelemy w pts 12 Argenis Mendez.
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Telis Assimenios.
Scorecards: 115-111, 115-111, 115-111.
Fight Summary: In a return that came about following their no contest at the beginning of the year, the champion yet again was unable to deal with Barthelemy (130) and was well outpointed despite the latter being docked points in the ninth and tenth for low blows. Taking up the initiative from the opening bell, Barthelemy waded into Mendez (129¾) with both hands, concentrating on the body, and it was only when the latter caught him heavily at the start of the fourth that it appeared the fans might have a fight on their hands. Even when Mendez had Barthelemy in range he let him off the hook before going back into his shell, winning three rounds at most in what was a disappointing display.
25 January 2014. Mikey Garcia w pts 12 Juan Carlos Burgos.
Venue: Madison Square Garden Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Harvey Dock.
Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Unable to light up the crowd Garcia (129¼) and his challenger, Burgos (129), merely went through the motions at times with the latter not prepared to take risks. It seemed as though things might kick off in the second when Garcia was almost dropped by a left-hand counter, but Burgos never followed it up. Although Garcia tried to force the fight he found it difficult to fathom Burgos out, and while he shook his man up with left hooks, especially in the third and ninth, he was unable to take advantage. With Burgos not prepared to pick up the reins, Garcia picked up the rounds to win as he pleased.
On 20 September, Orlando Salido beat Terdsak Kokietgym (w rsc 11 at the Fausto Gutierrez Moreno Municipal Auditorium, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) to win the vacant WBO 'interim' title.
After Garcia handed back his WBO Championship Belt on 15 October in order to move up to 140lbs, Salido was accorded full championship status. Thus Salido added to his title honours, having been a former two-time IBF/WBO champion.
3 January 2014. Argenis Mendez nc 2 Rances Barthelemy.
Venue: Target Centre, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Pete Podgorski.
Fight Summary: Initially shown as a win for Barthelemy (129) after a right-left hook to the jaw had dropped Mendez (128½) at the end of the second round and he had been counted out, the result was overturned by the IBF on 30 January on the grounds that the punches that finished the contest had been landed after the bell and were therefore illegal. Following the result being changed to that of a no contest they were then ordered to meet again.
31 December 2013. Takashi Uchiyama w pts 12 Daiki Kaneko.
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Hubert Earle.
Scorecards: 117-110, 117-110, 117-110.
Fight Summary: Despite winning virtually every round, the champion still had to climb off the floor in the tenth after being put down by a right to the head as Kaneko (130) went for it. With his eyes swollen and bruised Kaneko was still giving it plenty, but he was now on the end of some stiff punches himself and was in trouble at the final bell. Although competitive throughout, Kaneko, who was cut on the left eye in the third, came on well to take the fourth, but was always running second best as Uchiyama (130) showed up well with his excellent jab and combinations.
Bryan Vasquez made a successful defence of his WBA 'interim' title when outpointing Jose Felix Jnr (w pts 12 at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 12 April 2014), before being forced to hand in his belt after coming in at 133lbs for a contest against Sergio Thompson (w rtd 9 at the Quequi Riviera Maya Arena, Playa del Carmen, Mexico on 20 December 2014).
31 December 2013. Takashi Miura w rsc 9 Dante Jardon.
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Len Koivisto.
Fight Summary: Right from the opening bell the champion took charge of the game Jardon (130), banging in heavy left hands to head and body before the latter was dropped in the fifth from one such punch following a cluster of blows. Battering away at Jardon's body in an effort to weaken him, Miura (130) kept up the pressure into the ninth before the referee finally came to the Mexican's aid after a swarming attack had put him down again. The finish was timed at 0.55. On several occasions Jardon was on the floor after losing his balance, only for the referee to call them slips, and the stoppage could have come earlier than it did to save the outclassed Mexican from taking more punches than necessary.
9 November 2013. Mikey Garcia w co 8 Roman Martinez.
Venue: American Bank Centre, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Laurence Cole.
Fight Summary: Having been a former undefeated WBO title holder at featherweight, Garcia (128¾) confidently took on Martinez (129¾) in a bid to prise the title away from the latter in order to become a two-weight champion. After being dropped by a hard right in the second, Garcia, banging out stiff lefts and rights, got up to box his way into a fair lead by the halfway stage. Garcia was so on top in rounds six and seven that he received 10-8 marks from a different judge in each session. That was before he cut loose in the eighth and dropped Martinez with a crashing right to the head that saw the latter counted out 56 seconds into the round.
23 August 2013. Argenis Mendez drew 12 Arash Usmanee.
Venue: Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.
Scorecards: 114-114, 114-114, 113-115.
Fight Summary: Although saving his title with a majority draw, Mendez (130), landing the crisper blows throughout, appeared to have won by a fair margin. After dropping the opener, Mendez came back strongly before being pinned on the ropes as a rampant Usmanee (129) let loose punch after punch. From the fifth through to the eighth it was Mendez controlling the pace of the contest before Usmanee came back hard in the ninth and tenth. There was no doubt that Mendez was under some pressure in the last two sessions, but his cooler boxing and a crashing right to Usmanee's head in the last should have sealed a win for him.
17 August 2013. Takashi Miura w pts 12 Sergio Thompson.
Venue: The Bullring, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.
Scorecards: 114-111, 114-110, 113-112.
Fight Summary: Quickly into his stride, the hard-hitting southpaw champion soon found the distance for his favoured left hand when a countering uppercut that was followed by two straight punches to the head blasted Thompson (129½) to the floor. Having come back well, the confident Thompson marched into Miura (129½) in the sixth before being caught by several left-handers that put him down for what referee called a slip. Thompson was not so lucky moments later after being dropped for 'four' and then battered for the remainder of the round. It was Thompson's turn in the eighth to fire off big punches, a couple of left uppercuts dropping Miura and leaving him groggy for a while. However, by the tenth Miura was back in full swing as Thompson tired. After dropping Thompson for another so-called slip in the tenth, Miura blasted away for a 10-8 round in the eyes of two judges and did enough to warrant the unanimous verdict in what had been a tough fight.
6 May 2013. Takashi Uchiyama w co 5 Jaider Parra.
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Pinit Prayadsab.
Fight Summary: Making his seventh defence, Uchiyama (130) was soon up and running when throwing heavy blows at the unbeaten Parra (129¾), who defended himself with a high guard and good movement before coming on to take the third with some smart left jabs. However, in the fourth Uchiyama opened up when pushing Parra back, and having dug in a blow that strayed low he was warned by the referee to keep his punches up. Not perturbed, Uchiyama went immediately on the attack in the fifth. It was only moments later that Parra was put down and counted out on the 2.15 mark after taking a tremendous left hook to the body, a punch that the champion had been looking for all night.
On 26 October, Bryan Vasquez beat Rene Gonzalez (w tdec 5 at the Sports Centre, Hatillo, San Jose, Costa Rica) to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title.
8 April 2013. Takashi Miura w rsc 9 Gamaliel Diaz.
Venue: Kokugikan Sumo Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.
Fight Summary: Losing his title in his first defence, Diaz (130) was unlucky to be cut over the right eye by an accidental head butt in the opening session, the point deducted from Miura (130) being of no consequence as he took a battering in virtually every round until being stopped at 1.21 of the ninth. It was the southpaw left to the jaw that gave Diaz the most trouble, and it was that punch that dropped him in third, sixth, seventh and ninth. The last knockdown saw the fight immediately halted at 1.21 of the session, with Diaz, who lacked the power to hurt Miura, cut on both eyes as well as carrying a large swelling under his right optic.
6 April 2013. Roman Martinez w pts 12 Diego Magdaleno.
Venue: Cotai Arena, Macao, China. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.
Scorecards: 115-112, 114-113, 111-116.
Fight Summary: Following a narrow escape last time out, Martinez (130) survived this one after being awarded a split decision in a contest in which many favoured his unbeaten southpaw challenger. Despite taking the opening three rounds, boxing well within himself, when Magdaleno (130) was dumped on the canvas in the fourth by a right to the jaw he became extremely wary of the power that Martinez possessed in his right-hand. The classy Magdaleno, who was never out of it despite being cut over the left eye in the latter stages, came back strongly to win the last session if not the fight.
9 March 2013. Argenis Mendez w rsc 4 Juan Carlos Salgado.
Venue: The Hangar, Costa Mesa, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Hedgpeth.
Fight Summary: Having been granted a return against the champion, Mendez (129¼), who stated prior to the contest that he would not be leaving it to the judges this time around, soon had Salgado (129½) on the floor for an 'eight' count after smashing home a lead right. Making his punches pay, Mendez continued to track Salgado down before hurting him again with a big left-right in the third. Sensing that this was his time, with Salgado coming onto him in the fourth Mendez unleashed a cracking left hook counter that put him down flat on his back. Although Salgado tried to make it to his feet the referee called off the count to stop the fight after 45 seconds of the session had elapsed.
19 January 2013. Roman Martinez drew 12 Juan Carlos Burgos.
Venue: Madison Square Garden Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Eddie Claudio.
Scorecards: 116-112, 111-117, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In an extremely tight contest, Martinez (129½) appeared lucky to have retained his title by a split draw after Burgos (129) came with a late run to take the last three rounds as he tired. Prior to that, Martinez was slightly in the lead due to his pressure and better quality punches, but after being badly hurt in the tenth by body punches from both hands he was on the back foot. With Burgos getting stronger as the rounds passed by one more session would probably have been enough for him.
31 December 2012. Takashi Uchiyama w rsc 8 Bryan Vasquez.
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.
Fight Summary: Making a sound start with the use of accurate left jabs and the occasional solid right, although the champion was pegged back in the second as Vasquez (130) picked it up, he was soon in control when running off the rounds. Having come under attack in the sixth and seventh as Vasquez let his punches go, Uchiyama (129¾) defended well before hitting back hard. In the eighth, after pushing the switch-hitting Vasquez on to the back foot, Uchiyama hammered in punch after punch from both hands until the referee rescued the former undefeated WBA 'interim' title holder as the bell rang to end the session.
27 October 2012. Gamaliel Diaz w pts 12 Takahiro Ao.
Venue: International Forum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.
Scorecards: 115-111, 114-112, 114-112.
Fight Summary: Despite being docked points in the third for an accidental head butt that cut the southpaw champion on the left eye and in the fifth for going low, Diaz (130) still had enough in his pocket at the end of the contest to justify the title changing hands. Favouring a long right hand against the onrushing Ao (130), who continually tried to work away inside, Diaz picked up three of the last four rounds as the man from Japan faded.
15 September 2012. Roman Martinez w pts 12 Miguel Beltran Jnr.
Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Russell Mora.
Scorecards: 114-113, 114-113, 111-116.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Adrien Broner was stripped, this fight could have gone either way in what was an extremely tough and difficult to score affair. Had not Beltran (130) lost a point in the 11th for hitting behind the head a draw would have been given, it was that close. However, with the fight swinging first one way and then the other it was Martinez (129) who got his hands on his old belt.
18 August 2012. Juan Carlos Salgado w pts 12 Jonathan Victor Barros.
Venue: Miguel Hidalgo Gym, Puebla, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 115-112, 116-111, 116-111.
Fight Summary: After rolling off the opening three rounds, the champion was cut over the left eye in the fourth as he and Barros (129¾) came together. Although the injury proved problematic over the duration of the contest it did not stop Salgado (129¾) from taking risks when trying to find the punch that would finish matters for the evening. Barros, who had a point deducted in the eighth for hitting and holding, was always looking for a way to turn the fight in his favour, but ultimately found Salgado too good for him.
16 July 2012. Takashi Uchiyama tdraw 3 Michael Farenas.
Venue: Winghat Arena, Kasukabe, Saitama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Fight Summary: Although the fight was beginning to warm up, a clash of heads in the third round saw the champion, Uchiyama (130), sustain a deep cut over the right eye that was deemed by the ringside doctor to be too dangerous for him to continue. After being stopped at 1.15 of the session the decision was announced as a technical draw as the contest had not gone beyond four rounds. With Farenas (130) being a southpaw, it was noticeable from the beginning that the clash of styles made it almost impossible for the pair to avoid heads coming together.
On 21 July, at the Municipal Auditorium, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Bryan Vasquez made a successful defence of the WBA ‘interim’ title when stopping Jorge Lacierva in the ninth round. After Vasquez relinquished his title in early December, on being matched with Uchiyama, Yuriorkis Gamboa outpointed Farenas at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 8 December to become the new WBA ‘interim’ champion. Making no defences as such, Gamboa vacated the WBA ‘interim’ title in April 2013 when deciding to move up a weight.
28 April 2012. Juan Carlos Salgado w pts 12 Martin Honorio.
Venue: Grand Oasis Resort, Cancun, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Charlie Fitch.
Scorecards: 114-112, 114-112, 113-113.
Fight Summary: Forced to fight all the way, Salgado (130) held on to his title by dint of two knockdowns, a solid left jab in the second and a left hook to the jaw in the third doing the trick. Coming back well, Honorio (130) cut the champion over the left eye, an injury that bothered him throughout, and dished out solid left-rights to bring himself right back into the frame. There was never much between them, and following the contest there were calls for the men to meet again.
6 April 2012. Takahiro Ao w pts 12 Terdsak Kokietgym.
Venue: International Forum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 118-110.
Fight Summary: In a match-up between southpaws, after four rounds the champion and Kokietgym (129¾), who had been cut over the left eye by a butt in the second, were dead level on the cards. However, from thereon in the aggressive Ao (130) began to pull away from Kokietgym when coming into his own as jabs and solid combinations provided him with the platform he was looking for. Although Kokietgym was always dangerous with the left hand, it was Ao who powered to the points win.
25 February 2012. Adrien Broner w rsc 4 Eloy Perez.
Venue: Scot Trade Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: Dominating from the start, the champion had too much of everything for the unbeaten Perez (130), jabbing well and banging in hard hooks and uppercuts whenever he chose. On perusing Perez' record it was clear that he had never met anyone approaching the class of Broner (130), and as the contest progressed he was found wanting. Forced back in the fourth after taking a heavy right to the chin and seemingly on his way to the floor, Perez was caught by another blow to the back of the head that made sure of him taking a count. In the process of being counted over, when the referee saw how Perez was getting to his feet he called the fight off on the 2.24 mark.
Booked to defend the title against Vicente Escobedo at the US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio on 21 July, Broner failed to make the weight and was stripped of his belt. Although the fight went ahead with Escobedo in a position to win the title if he won, it was stopped in Broner’s favour during the fifth. Following that, Roman Martinez and Miguel Beltran Jnr were matched for the vacant title.
31 December 2011. Takashi Uchiyama w rsc 11 Jorge Solis.
Venue: Bunka Gym, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Fight Summary: Showing his power throughout the champion was relentless in his pursuit of Solis (130), who was punished by hard shots from both hands. Although Solis had class he was unable to keep Uchiyama (130) away and in the second, after being hurt by hard lefts and rights, he went to the canvas for what was adjudged to be a slip. For round after round Uchiyama stalked Solis, banging in big punches whenever he got close enough, and in the tenth a crashing right hand opened up a cut over the latter's right eye. Nineteen seconds into the 11th it was all over when the referee called an immediate halt after Solis had been dropped heavily by a left hook and looked as though he needed urgent attention.
10 December 2011. Juan Carlos Salgado tdraw 2 Miguel Beltran Jnr.
Venue: Centenary Stadium, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Fight Summary: Beltran (129½) made the better start as the champion looked to settle before the contest came to an end at 2.34 of the second. After coming back well with the jab in the second Salgado (129½) looked to have found his feet, but when heads accidentally came together he was left with a bad cut over the left eye that was deemed too bad by the doctor for him to continue. With less than four completed rounds boxed, the result was given as a no contest (or technical draw) under IBF rules.
26 November 2011. Adrien Broner w co 3 Vicente Martin Rodriguez.
Venue: US Bank Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Frank Garza.
Fight Summary: This one was for the vacant title after Ricky Burns handed in his belt on moving up in weight, Broner (128½) taking full advantage of the opportunity awarded him when knocking out Rodriguez (129½) at 1.43 of the third. After boxing well in the opener, Broner was taken out of his stride in the second as Rodriguez outworked him when pushing him back while concentrating on the body. It was much of the same in the third as Rodriguez went for it but, after Broner hurt him with a solid right uppercut and chased him down with a body shot that was followed by a left hook to the jaw, the fight was over.
6 November 2011. Takahiro Ao w pts 12 Devis Boschiero.
Venue: Yoyogi Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.
Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 113-116.
Fight Summary: Although retaining his title on a split decision, Ao (130) was a shadow of the fighter the fans saw last time out, being made to work hard by Boschiero (129½) and failing to draw on his power. The opening four rounds saw Ao working the body, while Boschiero occasionally landed hard left hooks. The fight was won by Ao in rounds five to eight as he picked up the pace, banging in heavy southpaw right hooks to the body and generally being on top of the Italian who concentrated too much on defence. Coming back strongly to win the final four sessions, Boschiero did all he could to pull back the deficit, but it was not enough for two of the judges who had him losing by a two-round margin.
10 September 2011. Juan Carlos Salgado w pts 12 Argenis Mendez.
Venue: UAG Gym, Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Hedgpeth.
Scorecards: 115-111, 114-112, 114-112.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Mzonke Fana was stripped, it was Salgado (129¾) who just about made it over the line after being dropped in the final session by a big right to the head and making it to the bell on getting up. Never more than a round or so in it as both Salgado and Mendez (127¾) went hammer and tongs in what was fast and furious throughout, a points deduction incurred by the latter for hitting behind the head in the fifth hardly helped his cause. Following the contest there were immediate calls for a return.
16 July 2011. Ricky Burns w rsc 1 Nicky Cook.
Venue: Echo Arena, Liverpool, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Phil Edwards.
Fight Summary: Almost from the first punch that the champion threw Cook (130) was in trouble. Having moved away from a blow that ended up catching him in the back and a shot to the side of the head from Burns the former title holder was on his way to the canvas. As Cook rose it was clear that he was suffering, and after Burns went with the jab he was on the floor again. Somehow Cook raised himself up, only to fall over for the third time. With the towel on its way into the ring, the referee called the fight off on the 1.33 mark to allow Cook the medical attention he was in desperate need of. Following the fight, Cook announced his retirement from the ring, claiming that a degenerative back condition made it impossible for him to fight on.
After Burns relinquished the WBO title on 10 September when moving up a weight class to meet Michael Katsidis for the vacant WBO ‘interim’ crown, Adrien Broner and Vicente Martin Rodriguez were matched to find his successor.
8 April 2011. Takahiro Ao w co 4 Humberto Mauro Gutierrez.
Venue: World Memorial Hall, Kobe, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jon Schorle.
Fight Summary: In a match-up between southpaws, the champion was largely in control of Gutierrez (130) for most of the time, getting his combinations off quickly as the latter tried to keep up with him. Occasionally Ao (130) was reminded that Gutierrez could punch hard, being hurt by a right hook in the third, but it was his work to the body that eventually brought the Mexican down. Having tasted Gutierrez's power, Ao picked it up in the fourth when landing solidly, and after being dropped by a heavy right hook to the body and unable to respond the former was counted out on the 0.58 mark.
12 March 2011. Ricky Burns w rtd 7 Joseph Laryea.
Venue: Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Terry O’Connor.
Fight Summary: Not at his best, Burns (129) was still too good for Laryea (127¾) after working out a way through the latter's longer reach to get solid punches off. Although occasionally caught by wide, swinging punches, once Burns had started working the body as well as upstairs, especially with left hooks, he increasingly pushed Laryea back to take the rounds. At the end of the seventh Laryea was retired by his corner on suffering a suspected broken metacarpal in his right hand.
31 January 2011. Takashi Uchiyama w rtd 8 Takashi Miura.
Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Takeshi Shimakawa.
Fight Summary: Having started well with the left jab snaking into the face of his southpaw challenger, Uchiyama (130) became complacent in the third before being dropped heavily by a big left. He also suffered a bad cut over the right eye from an accidental head butt. Getting his boxing back on track in the fourth Uchiyama's good work soon had Miura (130) trailing and unable to keep up with his fleet-footed foe, and with his right eye badly swollen he was retired by his corner at the end of the eighth.
Bryan Vasquez won the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title when outpointing Santos Benavides over 12 rounds at Pepper’s Night Club, Zapote, Costa Rica on 3 November.
4 December 2010. Ricky Burns w pts 12 Andreas Evensen.
Venue: Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Dave Parris.
Scorecards: 119-108, 118-109, 119-108.
Fight Summary: Making the kind of start he would have hoped for, the champion put Evensen (129¼) down for a brief count in the opening session before racking up the pressure even further when cutting the latter over the left eye in the third. Although temporarily going off the boil as the tough Evensen hit back, Burns soon assumed control before his desire to have a tear-up saw him race into his opponent as if the result depended on it. Yet again, Burns had shown a limitless supply of energy when dropping no more than two rounds throughout the contest while on his way to a commanding win.
26 November 2010. Takahiro Ao w pts 12 Vitali Tajbert.
Venue: Nihon Gaishi Hall, Nagoya, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Scorecards: 116-110, 117-112, 115-112.
Fight Summary: After making a hesitant start, Tajbert (129½) was smashed to the floor in the third by a southpaw straight left as his challenger quickly moved into gear to take the play away from him. Although Tajbert hit back on occasion it was never for protracted periods, and after he was cut over the left eye in the sixth and sustained another cut to the same eye in the eighth Ao (130) assumed total control until easing off towards the end. On receiving the unanimous decision, Ao, who was a former WBC featherweight title holder, became a two-weight world champion.
20 September 2010. Takashi Uchiyama w rsc 5 Roy Mukhlis.
Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: At the top of his game, the hard-hitting champion started as he meant to carry on when landing solid rights on Mukhlis (129¾) after setting him up with the jab in the opening session. Unable to land more than one punch at a time, Mukhlis found Uchiyama (130) just too fast and accurate for him before being halted at 2.27 of the fifth. Having been caught by a heavy right that was followed up with solid combinations, he was on all fours when the referee stopped the count in order for him to receive attention. The Indonesian, who had been slowed down by body shots throughout the contest, also suffered a broken left cheekbone, courtesy of a Uchiyama right hook in the third.
4 September 2010. Ricky Burns w pts 12 Roman Martinez.
Venue: Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Michael Ortega.
Scorecards: 115-112, 115-112, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Getting his first crack at a world title it looked as though Burns (129¾) had bitten off more than he could chew when the champion smashed him to the floor in the opening session. But the Scot proved he was made of stern stuff as he came back hard in the second despite having to take more solid blows. From the third Burns began to pick up rounds as he battled back while dishing out punishment himself. After coming through some rocky moments in the seventh it was Burns’ work to the body that was reaping dividends in the latter stages, and although Martinez was still dangerous it was the challenger who took the last three sessions on the cards and the title.
1 September 2010. Mzonke Fana w pts 12 Cassius Baloyi.
Venue: Carnival City Arena, Brakpan, Gauteng, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Deon Dwarte.
Scorecards: 119-109, 118-110, 119-110.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Robert Guerrero handed in his belt, Fana (129¾) was extremely keen to beat Baloyi (129½), who had taken the championship from him back in 2008. Although Baloyi was competitive in the first half of the contest despite Fana winning most of the rounds, the latter had been hurt in the fourth by a terrific right to the jaw and the follow-up left hook. By the ninth, however, it was clear that Baloyi was fading fast, and while unable to drop him Fana handed out a beating right up to the final bell.
Fana forfeited the IBF title on 20 May 2011, having signed up to defend against Argenis Mendez before pulling out due to not being properly prepared, and the latter was matched against Juan Carlos Salgado to decide a new champion. Mendez had beaten Baloyi (w pts 12 at the Carnival City Arena on 29 January 2011) in an eliminator to get his title shot, while Salgado was coming off two wins over Guadalupe Rosales.
Fana was out of boxing for close on two years due to various contractual disputes before coming back in a contest above the weight.
29 May 2010. Roman Martinez w co 4 Gonzalo Munguia.
Venue: Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez Jnr.
Fight Summary: Up against the hard punching Munguia (129½), the champion had a good look at his man in the opening session before opening up in the second. It was certainly a risk, especially when Martinez (130) was caught heavily at times by the Munguia left uppercut and wobbled near the end of the session by one such punch. Martinez was more careful in the third, even though the pair exchanged solid shots, and in the last minute he had Munguia going before being denied by the bell. Pouring the punches in from the start of the fourth, Martinez eventually dropped Munguia with a cracking right uppercut that saw the latter counted out on the 1.48 mark.
22 May 2010. Vitali Tajbert w tdec 9 Hector Velazquez.
Venue: Stadium Hall, Rostock, Germany. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richie Davies.
Scorecards: 88-83, 87-83, 88-82.
Fight Summary: Defending the title that was handed to him after it was relinquished by Humberto Soto, when Tajbert (130) was badly cut over the left eye following an accidental clash of heads in the second he was forced to change his game plan in order to protect the wound from being damaged even further. Although Velazquez (130) was deducted a point for the transgression he was unable to take full advantage of the situation, the Kazak being too quick for him. Clearly the better man, Tajbert was stopped from carrying on by the ringside doctor at the end of the ninth when the wound was wide open and blood was getting into his eye. On adding up the cards it was no surprise that Tajbert was awarded the technical decision.
17 May 2010. Takashi Uchiyama w rsc 6 Angel Granados.
Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Silvestre Abainza.
Fight Summary: Putting his newly won title up for grabs, Uchiyama (130) was at Granados (129¼) right from the opening bell, never giving him breathing space while sending in heavy blows to head and body. Granados had great difficulty avoiding solid right hooks that were thrown in a three-punch series, seemingly having no defence for them, and he was caught time and again. Floored in the sixth by one such punch, when Granados found his feet but was unable to show the referee that he was fit to continue the fight was stopped, the finish being timed at 1.42.
Making another defence of the WBA ‘interim’ title, Jorge Solis stopped Francisco Cordero in the sixth round at the Olympic Coliseum, Guadalajara, Mexico on 4 September. Solis relinquished the WBA ‘interim’ title on 3 November 2011 on signing up for a fight against Uchiyama.
11 January 2010. Takashi Uchiyama w rsc 12 Juan Carlos Salgado.
Venue: Big Site, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Fight Summary: Boxing well within himself, Uchiyama (130) took the initiative from the opening bell when getting inside the champion's roundarm blows to score with solid shots from either hand. Holding Salgado (130) up with the jab while looking to get his heavy rights over Uchiyama won at least eight rounds by use of this method. Although Salgado made a big effort in the seventh through to the ninth he had begun to tire by the tenth. Seizing the moment, Uchiyama tore into Salgado in the 12th before dropping him with a series of heavy combinations, and when the latter was allowed to box on the referee eventually was forced to call a halt to proceedings with just two seconds remaining when the challenger was being battered along the ropes.
On 8 May, Jorge Solis defended his WBA ‘interim’ title, outpointing Mario Santiago over 12 rounds at the San Marcos Fairgrounds, Aquascalientes, Mexico.
10 October 2009. Juan Carlos Salgado w rsc 1 Jorge Linares.
Venue: Yoyogi Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: In what was a huge shock, the unbeaten Salgado (130) won the title when defeating the experienced champion inside 73 seconds of the opening round. Not giving Linares (129¾) time to settle, Salgado dropped him with a wide hook to the temple. Although the punch appeared insignificant at the time it did a lot of damage. Even though Linares was allowed to box on, it quickly became apparent that things were not right, and after he was sent crashing again from two heavy rights to the head the referee stopped the contest to save the Venezuelan from taking any further punishment.
At the Plaza Mayor Convention Centre, Medellin, Colombia on 19 November, Likar Ramos outpointed Angel Granados over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title. Ramos lost the ‘interim’ title on 6 February 2010 when knocked out in the seventh round by Jorge Solis at the Cervero Pacheco Sports Centre, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
15 September 2009. Humberto Soto w rsc 2 Aristides Perez.
Venue: The Bullring, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Florentino Lopez.
Fight Summary: Following a solid start by the champion, Perez (129¾) lost his head in the second after a straight right sent him spinning. With Soto (130) in pursuit, Perez went to the floor having missed with a wild swing, and on getting up he lost his balance again. Not scored as knockdowns, Perez took the fight to Soto on regaining his feet, only to catch a cracking straight right to the chin. As Soto charged in, looking to finish the job, Perez was rescued by the referee at 1.21 of the session when delayed action saw him drop to the floor.
On 21 November, at the Sparkassen Arena, Kiel, Germany, Humberto Mauro Gutierrez lost the WBC ‘interim’ title when outpointed over 12 rounds by Vitali Tajbert.
When Soto vacated the WBC title on 18 March 2010 after becoming the WBC lightweight champion five days earlier, Tajbert became the fully recognised champion.
12 September 2009. Roman Martinez w co 9 Feider Viloria.
Venue: Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez Jnr.
Fight Summary: Coming into the contest at short notice after Vicente Martin Rodriguez had visa problems, Viloria (129¼) showed good speed to stay at distance while trying to keep clear of heavy shots from the champion coming his way. Hurt by a straight right in the second and picking up a swollen right eye in the third, Viloria did well to win rounds three and four when battling away hard. He also took the sixth before tiring. Having been caught by a heavy right in the eighth, Viloria was then hammered by a further couple of rights in the ninth from Martinez (129½) before he was dropped by a similar shot and counted out with one second of the session remaining.
22 August 2009. Robert Guerrero w pts 12 Malcolm Klassen.
Venue: Toyota Centre, Houston, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jon Schorle.
Scorecards: 117-111, 116-113, 116-112.
Fight Summary: As a former two-time IBF featherweight title holder who was undefeated the last time round, the tall Guerrero (130) was expected to be a tough opponent for Klassen (129½), his southpaw stance and speed sure to give the latter trouble. And so it proved. Making a solid start, Guerrero was soon buzzing as he picked up the opening three rounds, before the champion got himself back into the contest, hammering in blows from both hands to head and body. Having knocked out Klassen's gumshield with a terrific right uppercut in the sixth, Guerrero then sustained a badly cut left eye in the seventh that was caused by a head butt. From thereon in, although Guerrero boxed a defensive fight as Klassen came on strongly to win the eighth and ninth he still made sure of the win when taking the last three sessions on the cards by dint of clever boxing. Afterwards, Guerrero claimed that because he had injured his left hand in the fourth he had been forced to change his game plan.
Further to Guerrero vacating the title in February 2010 in order to care for his wife who was battling leukaemia, the IBF matched Mzonke Fana and Cassius Baloyi to find a new champion. Both men had come through eliminating contests in 2009, Fana beating Jasper Seroka (w rsc 6 at the Nasrec Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, South Africa on 31 July) and Baloyi defeating Roberto David Arrieta (w pts 12 at the Wembley Indoor Arena, Johannesburg on 30 October).
27 June 2009. Jorge Linares w rsc 8 Josafat Perez.
Venue: Lauro Luis Longoria Bullring, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Putting his title up for grabs against a southpaw challenger, Linares (130) started slowly, doing just enough to stay ahead before picking it up at the halfway stage. Prior to that, Perez (130) had given Linares several difficult moments, especially when hammering in lefts and rights through a somewhat porous defence at times. Waking himself up in the eighth, Linares began to take Perez apart when answering his opponent with heavy blows from both hands, dropping his man with a short right to the head after hurting him with a left hook. On getting himself up, Perez was a sitting target for heavy rights to the head, and at 1.40 of the session the referee rescued him.
2 May 2009. Humberto Soto w rsc 9 Benoit Gaudet.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: After the challenger had been dropped by a right-left hook to the head in the opening moments of the fight to all intents and purposes it looked as though Soto (130) would have an easy night's work. However, that was not to be the case as the tough Gaudet (129) got himself up at 'four' and proceeded to come back with vigour. Although Soto was winning most of the rounds, Gaudet was making him work hard, even winning the third and seventh when showing good hand-speed and defensive capability. In the ninth, however, Gaudet's interest in the contest was effectively ended after a right uppercut dumped him for 'eight', and when a barrage of blows sent him crashing the referee stepped in at 2.25 of the round.
On 22 August, at the Los Cabos Municipal Arena, Baja California, Mexico, Humberto Mauro Gutierrez won the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title when outpointing Siarhei Huliakevich over 12 rounds.
18 April 2009. Malcolm Klassen w rsc 7 Cassius Baloyi.
Venue: North-West University Arena, Mafikeng, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Sam Williams.
Fight Summary: This was yet another all-South African affair at the weight, and between stablemates at that. The two men went punch for punch as the challenger gradually edged ahead of Baloyi (129¼). With the fight turning into a war, Klassen (128¾), hunting the body while mixing it up and Baloyi smashing in combinations to the head, by the sixth it was clear that the intensity and pace could not continue at such a lick. It was Baloyi who gave way first, and following a tremendous barrage of blows from Klassen in the seventh that left him tottering on wooden legs the referee came to his rescue at 2.26 of the session.
28 March 2009. Humberto Soto w rsc 4 Antonio Davis.
Venue: The Bullring, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Roberto Ramirez Jnr.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Soto (130) soon made his mark when flooring Davis (130) with a solid left hook to the head in the opening session. Although the challenger got himself back into the fray he was quickly put under the cosh as Soto let the punches go, cracking in lefts and rights to head and body. Having been cut on the left eye in the second, Davis came back hard in the third before being dropped in the fourth by a thunderous left-right that left him dazed. On getting up late in the count, after Davis was again put down by a one-two for 'eight' he was rescued by the referee at 2.38 of the session when being bombarded by shots from both hands.
14 March 2009. Roman Martinez w rsc 4 Nicky Cook.
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Dave Parris.
Fight Summary: The champion started well, slotting in left jabs and almost putting Martinez (129) down in the second with a solid left hook before boxing well in the third. However, all of Cook's good work was undone in the fourth when Martinez began to attack the body. Responding to the Puerto Rican's heavy-handed work, Cook (130) met fire with fire and was made to pay for it when two left hooks to the jaw dropped him. Having got up and then been deposited on the canvas again by another cracking left hook, although Cook managed to make it to his feet the referee stopped the contest on the 2.20 mark.
20 December 2008. Humberto Soto w pts 15 Francisco Lorenzo.
Venue: Andres Quintana Roo Park Arena, Cozumel, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.
Scorecards: 117-109, 118-108, 117-109.
Fight Summary: In a contest for the vacant title after Manny Pacquiao handed in his belt on moving up in weight, Soto (130) took revenge for a disqualification defeat at the hands of Lorenzo (129) in a previous meeting. Dominating from the opening bell, Soto outboxed Lorenzo with stinging left jabs and rights over the top, only for the latter to turn it into a brawl when going low several times. Eventually he was deducted points in the seventh for a head butt and for a low blow in the eighth. While the cards showed that Soto was an easy winner, it being difficult to award Lorenzo more than three rounds, he certainly knew he had been in a fight.
28 November 2008. Jorge Linares w rsc 5 Whyber Garcia.
Venue: ATLAPA Convention Centre, Panama City, Panama. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Edwin Valero handed in his belt on moving up in weight, Linares (129), the former undefeated WBC featherweight champion, became the new title holder when stopping Garcia (129½) at 1.08 of the fifth. It was a tough fight for Linares, who had to avoid countless looping rights to the head while attempting to jab Garcia off, especially in the third when under pressure. With swellings under both eyes, Linares seemed up against it in the fourth, but when Garcia swung himself off balance in the fifth the Venezuelan seized the opportunity to batter the local so badly that the referee stopped the contest on the 1.08 mark.
13 September 2008. Cassius Baloyi w rsc 3 Javier Osvaldo Alvarez.
Venue: Emperor's Palace, Kempton Park, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Sparkle Lee.
Fight Summary: Having kept Alvarez (129¾) on the end of a solid jab in the first round, the champion opened up in the second with both hands firing before a left-right to the jaw dropped the Argentine for an 'eight' count. Allowed to box on, Alvarez, now cut over the left eye, was soon down again after Baloyi (129) cracked in punches from both hands, but although groggy on getting up he was saved by the bell. Coming out for the third Alvarez was quickly set upon, and after being floored by more combinations the female referee came to his aid just 28 seconds into the session.
6 September 2008. Nicky Cook w pts 12 Alex Arthur.
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mickey Vann.
Scorecards: 117-112, 117-111, 115-114.
Fight Summary: Defending the title that was handed to him after it was relinquished by Joan Guzman, a below par Arthur (130) lost it at the first time of asking when beaten on points by Cook (129½). For whatever reason Arthur appeared to lack motivation, winning three or four rounds at most, while Cook scored with jabs and rights over the top before moving on. Although picking it up in the eighth Arthur failed to turn things around, and despite going well in the 11th when cutting the ring down he failed to build on it.
12 June 2008. Edwin Valero w rsc 7 Takehiro Shimada.
Venue: Nihon Budokan Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Guillermo Perez Pineda.
Fight Summary: Fighting a defensive battle from the start against the hard-hitting southpaw champion, Shimada (129¾) went reasonably well for three rounds before being hurt in the fourth by a solid left to the body and then being cut over the left eye in the fifth. Having been under a lot of pressure in the sixth, after Valero (129¾) had crashed in a right hook that forced him onto the ropes in the seventh, Shimada was then belted to the mat with a similar punch that brought about a stoppage at 1.55 of the session. Shimada finished with a badly swollen left eye, testament to Valero's heavy punching.
Valero relinquished the WBA title on 3 September on moving up a division, following which Jorge Linares and Whyber Garcia were matched to find a new champion.
12 April 2008. Cassius Baloyi w pts 12 Mzonke Fana.
Venue: University Sports Complex, Mafikeng, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 117-111, 116-112, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Regaining his old title when taking a majority decision over Fana (128¾), the current champion, Baloyi (129) took the opening four rounds before his fellow South African woke up. Coming on strong in the sixth, Fana began to make some of the leeway up before Baloyi started to hit back hard towards the end of the eighth. Although the ninth was closely fought, Fana picked it up again in the tenth through to the final bell, but according to the cards he had left his run to the finishing line too late.
15 March 2008. Manny Pacquiao w pts 12 Juan Manuel Marquez.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Scorecards: 115-112, 114-113, 112-115.
Fight Summary: With his WBC title on the line and the vacant Ring Championship Belt up for grabs, Marquez (130) was looking to improve on his earlier meeting with Pacquiao (129) which ended in a draw. It was always going to be a tough ask, and in the third he was dropped by a heavy Pacquiao southpaw left to the jaw before getting up and fighting back hard. There were no more knockdowns, but each round was keenly contested as first one man took the initiative and then the other. At the final bell it was Pacquiao who received the split decision, but it was tight enough to have gone either way. Both men were cut badly, Pacquiao above and below the right eye (18 micro stitches needed) and Marquez over the right optic, which required eight regular stitches. Pacquiao became a three-weight world champion on winning, having been an undefeated WBC flyweight champion and an undefeated IBF junior featherweight champion.
Pacquiao relinquished The Ring Championship Belt and WBC title on 16 July having beaten David Diaz for the WBC lightweight crown at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on 28 June. On that same bill Francisco Lorenzo beat Humberto Soto by a fourth-round disqualification in a fight for the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title, but instead of creating a champion it went down as a ‘fake’ in the eyes of many of those who saw it. Prior to the finish Soto was well on top, but after putting Lorenzo down twice in the fourth round he made the mistake of throwing a punch at the latter that clipped the back of his head at most. The referee then gave Lorenzo five minutes to recover and when the latter said he was unable to continue he was handed the win. Following the contest the WBC failed to credit Lorenzo as champion due to the way he had been given the decision, and looked to make a return for the full title. However, the Dominican was so busted up that it had to be put on hold until later in the year.
Meantime, the WBC set up a vacant ‘interim’ title match between Soto and Gamaliel Diaz at The Bullring, Coahuila, Mexico on 11 October, the latter being stopped ten seconds into the 11th after not getting off his stool.
15 December 2007. Edwin Valero w rsc 3 Zaid Zavaleta.
Venue: The Bullring, Cancun, Mexico. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Dominating the contest from the opening bell, the hard-hitting southpaw champion charged into the luckless Zavaleta (130), who was soon in trouble when a right hook had him sitting on the lower strand in the first before being dropped by a straight left. Although holding up in the second as Valero (130) waded in, at 1.18 of the third Zavaleta was rescued by the referee on the 1.18 mark after being caught by a terrific right uppercut that left him staggering along the ropes.
17 November 2007. Joan Guzman w pts 12 Humberto Soto.
Venue: Borgata Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Harvey Dock.
Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 118-110.
Fight Summary: After getting caught up fighting the opening two rounds on the inside the moment the champion began to use his boxing skills Soto (130) had a problem. From that point on, apart from the seventh, Guzman (129¾) was in charge, his movement, speed of foot and countering being too much for Soto, who was left chasing shadows. Clearly the better man, Guzman upset the fans in the last couple of sessions as he ran the clock down.
On 15 December, Alex Arthur successfully defended the WBO ‘interim’ title when outpointing Stephen Foster over 12 rounds at the Meadowbank Sports Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland, and with Guzman moving up in weight on 14 May 2008 the Scot was immediately confirmed as being the WBO champion.
3 November 2007. Juan Manuel Marquez w pts 12 Rocky Juarez.
Venue: Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bobby Ferrara.
Scorecards: 117-111, 118-110, 120-108.
Fight Summary: Making the worst possible start, Juarez (129) received a badly cut left eye in the first round following a clash of heads as he and the champion unintentionally collided. With his fight plan now well and truly messed up Juarez was forced to sit tight and hope he could come again in the latter stages if the wound held up. Strangely, the end of the fourth (the last completed session in which a technical draw could be announced) came early when the timekeeper closed the round after two minutes rather than three. Although Juarez picked it up in the ninth, Marquez (128), his right eye now swollen, remained the boss, especially when landing body shots. Why Juarez was allowed to get through the last four sessions was a mystery as his left eye was spurting blood while he was also bleeding from the right optic and taking more punches than he should have with his vision so badly impaired.
31 August 2007. Mzonke Fana w co 9 Javier Osvaldo Alvarez.
Venue: Civic Centre, Klerksdorp, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Deon Dwarte.
Fight Summary: Right from the off the champion got his smooth left jab working when dissecting Alvarez's defence with certainty. Even when Alvarez (129) put a high guard in place it was not enough to stop Fana (128¼) from breaching his defence, and for round after round the Argentine marched on to solid countering blows as he tried to find a way through. Having constantly tried to take the fight to Fana, the brave Alvarez was finally undone in the ninth when a solid left hook to the body saw him counted out at 1.05 of the session.
3 May 2007. Edwin Valero w rsc 8 Nobuhito Honmo.
Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Pinij Prayadsab.
Fight Summary: Going on the attack from the opening bell the southpaw champion moved in on the high-guarded Honmo (129½), cutting him over both eyes by the fourth, as well as banging in lefts and rights. Shifting his attacks to the body in the fifth, Valero (130) hammered away at Honmo before the referee stopped the contest at 1.54 of the eighth after the ringside doctor had seen enough. Although Honmo had thrown some decent left-right counters throughout they had failed to halt Valero's advance and he was tiring fast at the time of the stoppage.
20 April 2007. Mzonke Fana w pts 12 Malcolm Klassen.
Venue: Oliver Tambo Hall, Khayelitsha, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Lindsey Page.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-113, 114-115.
Fight Summary: In a clash between fellow South Africans it was Fana (129½) who came out on top when taking the title from Klassen (129¾), who lost his crown at the first time of asking. Although Klassen piled on the pressure from the start he often had difficulty finding the target due to Fana's defensive skills, superb left hand and countering ability. There were no knockdowns, but in a fast-moving fifth round Klassen was badly shaken up by a terrific right cross to the jaw. As Klassen tired in the latter stages, it was Fana who came on at pace to win the remaining three rounds and the split decision.
17 March 2007. Juan Manuel Marquez w pts 12 Marco Antonio Barrera.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.
Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 118-109.
Fight Summary: Looking to become a two-weight world champion, Marquez (129), the former IBF/WBA and crrent WBO featherweight title holder, made a decent start against Barrera (130), the current incumbent, when landing the better quality punches and boxing smartly. Barrera was always a threat, his left, hammering into Marquez at times, but by the fifth he was beginning to tail off. Badly hurt by a right to the jaw in the seventh, Barrera took more solid shots on board before dropping Marquez with a right and then being docked a point for hitting the latter when he was on all fours. Strangely, the referee failed to record it as a knockdown. Despite Marquez's left eye closing fast in the ninth, he stormed forward to batter away at Barrera, producing a cut on the latter's left eye in the tenth, before going on to win the remaining three sessions and the unanimous points decision. Marquez, who was also cut over his right eye in the 12th, relinquished his WBO featherweight title on winning.
3 January 2007. Edwin Valero w rsc 1 Michael Lozada.
Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rafael Ramos.
Fight Summary: Stalking Lozada (129½) from the opening bell, the southpaw champion quickly made his presence felt when shooting down his Mexican opponent with a straight left to the jaw. Although staggering up Lozada immediately came under the cosh again as Valero (130) attacked him with both hands, and after touching down following some heavy right-lefts to the head he was rescued on the 1.12 mark.
18 December 2006. Joan Guzman w pts 12 Antonio Davis.
Venue: Virgilio Travieso Soto Leisure Centre, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 119-108, 118-109, 119-108.
Fight Summary: Defending the title that he won when beating the overweight Jorge Barrios, Guzman (130) set about the hardy Davis (130) from the opening bell as he looked to finish early. Having survived that onslaught, Davis went on the attack himself, but it was Guzman who landed the most effective punches whether he was on the back foot or on the front. Deducted a point for use of the elbow in the eighth, a round in which he was hurt from a severe body blow, made Davis' job even more difficult, and in the tenth Guzman's defence held sway as he made the American miss time and again on his way to a comprehensive points win.
On 21 July 2007, at the International Arena, Cardiff, Wales, Alex Arthur stopped Koba Gogoladze in the tenth round to win the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title.
4 November 2006. Malcolm Klassen w pts 12 Gairy St Clair.
Venue: Emperor's Palace Conference Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Samuel Viruet.
Scorecards: 118-112, 117-111, 113-115.
Fight Summary: Taking the opening two sessions with a storming offensive, smashing in punches from head to body, Klassen (130) showed the aggressive champion just what his intentions were. From thereon in the contest was fought at a terrific pace as first one man prospered and then the other in what was a gripping affair. Although St Clair (129½) had an excellent sixth, when having Klassen under the cosh, the latter came back strongly as the pair fought it out right through to the final bell. The split decision in Klassen's favour nearly took the roof off as the fans celebrated the title coming back to South Africa.
16 September 2006. Marco Antonio Barrera w pts 12 Rocky Juarez.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 117-111, 115-113, 115-113.
Fight Summary: In a return contest that had been demanded by the public, Barrera (130) again retained his title after being forced to fight every step of the way by the hard-hitting Juarez (129). This time round though, Barrera made Juarez fight his fight when hitting and moving before going on to the back foot. For round after round Juarez chased after Barrera, hoping that he would stand and fight, but he was continually outwitted and outmanoeuvred. Juarez finished with his right eye almost shut.
5 August 2006. Edwin Valero w rsc 10 Vicente Mosquera.
Venue: Figali Convention Centre, Panama City, Panama. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Having never gone more than two rounds in his unbeaten career, the hard-hitting Valero (129¾) almost finished the champion off in the opening session. Although Mosquera (130) started on the front foot he quickly took a count after walking on to a cluster of lefts and rights and was dropped again before the round was completed. Coming back hard Mosquera had Valero down in the third following a cracking left hook, only for the latter to fight back strongly. It was thought that tide might have turned in the fifth when Valero was cut over the right eye as well as taking a low blow and being given time out. However, from the sixth onwards the Venezuelan southpaw was all over Mosquera before the fight came to an end two minutes into the tenth when the referee pulled the latter out of the contest after one of the champion's handlers urged him to stop it.
29 July 2006. Gairy St Clair w pts 12 Cassius Baloyi.
Venue: Emperor's Palace Casino, Johannesburg, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ernest Sharif.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 115-114.
Fight Summary: Forced to fight on the back foot during the first half of the contest as the aggressive St Clair (129½) kept on coming, the champion was ahead at that stage but beginning to tire. To add to his woes was a bad cut on his left eye that he picked up in the fourth. Continuing to go forward, St Clair was now in full swing as Baloyi (129¼) was forced into the trenches, and although the latter made a big effort in the tenth when going toe-to-toe he could not sustain the effort.
31 May 2006. Cassius Baloyi w rsc 11 Manuel Medina.
Venue: Northern Quest Casino, Airway Heights, Washington, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Earl Brown.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Marco Antonio Barrera handed in his belt, it was Baloyi (130) who picked up the belt after stopping Medina (130) at 2.19 of the 11th. The fight started well for Baloyi as he landed well on the inside before Medina got his long arms working between the fourth and seventh when concentrating on the body. Baloyi picked it up in the eighth with heavy rights hurting Medina, and after going off the boil in the ninth he came back strongly in the tenth. Having been dropped three times in the 11th, a straight right to the head, a left hook to the ear and another left hook doing the damage, it was all over for Medina.
20 May 2006. Marco Antonio Barrera w pts 12 Rocky Juarez.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Scorecards: 115-114, 115-113, 114-115.
Fight Summary: Surprised by the quality and power of his challenger, Barrera (129) was pushed all the way from start to finish. Hurt in the third by a crashing left hook, Barrera looked to be in some difficulty with his left eye beginning to swell, but remaining calm as Juarez (129¼) picked up the pace he came back strongly. In the sixth, with both men looking to get off big punches, Barrera landed heavily but to no great effect as Juarez brushed them aside. It was Barrera who looked the most battered by the eighth, his face distinctly showing wear and tear, and Juarez continued to wreak damage when winning four of the last five sessions. Although the result was initially announced as being a split decision draw, when it was discovered that there were mistakes on two of the cards it was amended to a split decision win for Barrera.
20 May 2006. Jorge Barrios w rsc 1 Janos Nagy.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.
Fight Summary: Defending for the first time, Barrios (129) did not hang around before dropping Nagy (129¾) with a left hook to the body following a short feeling out period. Although the Hungarian southpaw struggled to get to his feet he did beat the count, only for the referee to decide that he was not sufficiently recovered when stopping the fight with just 49 seconds on the clock.
On 16 September, Barrios (131½) forfeited the WBO title when failing to make the weight for a title defence against the former undefeated WBO junior featherweight champion, Joan Guzman, at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite that the fight went ahead, and following a 12-round points win Guzman (129) was proclaimed the new champion.
12 May 2006. Vicente Mosquera w pts 12 Jose Pablo Estrella.
Venue: The Orfeo Superdome, Cordoba, Argentina. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.
Scorecards: 117-111, 116-112, 112-116.
Fight Summary: Although it was closely contested during the opening six rounds, Mosquera (130) started to dominate from thereon in, his heavy hitting being difficult for his counter-punching southpaw challenger to handle. Despite being open at times and taking too many hits from Estrella (128¾), Mosquera was never in real trouble, always coming back with blows from both hands, both up and down. According to Estrella's handlers, with the title there for the taking their man did not work hard enough.
17 September 2005. Marco Antonio Barrera w pts 12 Robbie Peden.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 118-109, 118-108, 118-108.
Fight Summary: In what was a unification battle Barrera (130) proved much too good for Peden (130), a former sparring partner, outclassing his limited foe in virtually every category on his way to an easy victory. Heads came together in the fourth, leaving Barrera with a cut left eye, but apart from that Peden had no success at all, his efforts to get into the contest being negated at every turn as the Mexican strolled through the rounds. Deducted a point in the tenth for landing a low blow that nobody but the referee saw it was only in the 11th and 12th that Barrera fully opened up, with Peden just making it to the final bell.
Barrera forfeited the IBF title on 19 April 2006 when he could not meet the body's commitments along with those of the WBC, an action that was followed by Cassius Baloyi and Manuel Medina being matched to find a new champion.
12 August 2005. Jorge Barrios w rsc 2 Victor Santiago.
Venue: Orfeo Superdome, Cordoba, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence since being appointed champion, and after showing his intent in the opening round, Barrios (129¾) got down to work quickly in the second to floor Santiago (129¾) three times before the fight was called off on the 2.34 mark. A rough and ready fighter, although Barrios appeared crude at times the hapless Puerto Rican was no match for his hard-hitting foe in front of 15,000 wildly cheering spectators.
30 April 2005. Vicente Mosquera w pts 12 Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.
Scorecards: 115-112, 118-108, 116-111.
Fight Summary: Mosquera (129) did not take long to let the champion know that he meant business, dropping him in the opener with a short right and controlling a highly-charged second round before both he and Sor Nanthachai (129½) were decked in a dramatic third session. Although the action slowed somewhat during the next few rounds it was Mosquera who was doing the better work, and in the 11th he floored Sor Nanthachai for the third time to make sure of victory.
9 April 2005. Marco Antonio Barrera w rsc 2 Mzonke Fana.
Venue: Don Haskins Centre, El Paso, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.
Fight Summary: Badly overmatched the unfortunate Fana (128¾) was soon in trouble, being staggered by a right to the head, the first punch delivered by the champion. Fana, who appeared at a loss as how to deal with Barrera (130), was soon retreating at speed. Into the second round it was obvious to all that it would be just a matter of time before Barrera got the job done, Fana eventually being dropped by a vicious right hand to the jaw which sent him crashing. Not even bothering to count the referee called an immediate halt, the finish being timed at 1.48.
23 February 2005. Robbie Peden w rsc 8 Nate Campbell.
Venue: Vodafone Arena, Melbourne, Australia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: John Wright.
Fight Summary: In a contest for the vacant title Campbell (129½) made a good start with his superior speed of both hand and foot allowing him to reach Peden (130) with solid rights to the head. Unfortunately for Campbell, when he was badly cut over the right eye following a clash of heads towards the end of the fourth he began to lose his composure as Peden started to score with solid jabs and body shots. The sixth saw Campbell deducted a point for a head butt, and after being battered from thereon in without let up and cut over both eyes the referee called a halt with just seven seconds of the eighth round remaining.
27 November 2004. Marco Antonio Barrera w pts 12 Erik Morales.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Scorecards: 115-113, 114-114, 115-114.
Fight Summary: This, the third fight between deadly rivals, was always going to be a close one. Slightly favoured prior to the contest getting underway Morales (130) tried to gain control from the outside but found Barrera (129½) continuously looking to get inside where he could fire in uppercuts from both hands. Unfortunately for the champion it was a left uppercut that broke his nose in the second round. With every round bitterly contested, coming into the penultimate session it appeared that Morales needed to up his work-rate if he was going to get anything out of the fight. Showing added urgency Morales ripped into Barrera during the final two sessions, but with the latter refusing to give way the title changed hands. Barrera became a world champion at three different weights, having previously been a three-time WBO junior featherweight champion (undefeated on the final occasion) and an undefeated WBC featherweight title holder.
7 August 2004. Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai w pts 12 Steve Forbes.
Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Now calling himself ‘Yodsanan 3K Battery’, the southpaw champion kept Forbes (130) on the back foot throughout, continually sending in straight rights and left crosses while the latter struggled to find any rhythm. Even when Forbes managed to get his punches off Sor Nanthachai (130) replied with swift counters, and it was not until the seventh and eighth rounds that the former got some joy on the inside with short right hands to the head in an effort to get back into the fight. However, there was to be no breakthrough after Sor Nanthachai came roaring back with heavy combinations to Forbes’ head and body to win by the same margin on all three officials’ cards.
31 July 2004. Erik Morales w pts 12 Carlos Hernandez.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Scorecards: 115-113, 119-109, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Trying to unify two titles Morales (130) proved to be the master of Hernandez (130), picking his shots well from both hands, especially when doubling up with accurate rights followed by solid uppercuts. To Hernandez’s credit he took everything that Morales could throw unflinchingly while always looking to get off left hooks to head and body, but try what he might he was generally outworked. Getting more competitive as it went on, the final session saw both men belting away two-handedly as they looked to impress the judges. Despite it being a tough fight there were no knockdowns, but Morales, cut over the left eye in the fourth and on the right eye in the 11th finished the more marked up of the pair.
Morales forfeited the IBF title in late September when he failed to ask for an exception to defend against Marco Antonio Barrera on 27 November, the fight going ahead for the WBC crown only. In the wake of that, Robbie Peden and Nate Campbell were matched to contest the vacant IBF title. Although Campbell had been beaten in an eliminator by Peden (l co 5 at the Pechanga Entertainment Centre, Temecula, California on 14 March) he had qualified for the number two spot by beating Daniel Attah (w pts 12 at the Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut on 9 January) and Edelmiro Martinez (w disq 4 at the Mohegan Sun Casino on 30 July) in further eliminating bouts.
6 March 2004. Diego Corrales w pts 12 Joel Casamayor.
Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 115-112, 115-112, 113-114.
Fight Summary: Contesting the title left vacant when relinquished by Acelino Freitas it was Corrales (130) who made the early running with good stiff jabs finding their mark, backed up by solid rights, while Casamayor (130) promised much without really taking off. Eventually realising he was not doing enough the Cuban southpaw began to raise his game, with straight lefts beginning to hurt Corrales, and in the ninth a solid left dropped the latter for the only knockdown of the fight. It was now nearly all Casamayor, but Corrales held on during a few sticky moments before coming back well in the 11th when two heavy rights hurt Casamayor. At the final bell it was certainly a tough one to call, but after winning six of the first seven rounds the split decision ultimately went in favour of Corrales, who also won the 11th.
Battling to decide the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title on 15 July at the American Airlines Arena, Dallas, Texas, Mike Anchondo outpointed Julio Pablo Chacon over 12 rounds, before being upgraded to full championship status when Corrales vacated the title on winning the WBO lightweight crown on 7 August.
Later, on 8 April 2005, at the Miccosukee Indian Gaming Resort, Miami, Florida, Anchondo (134½) failed to make the weight for a defence against Jorge Barrios (128½), who was awarded the title following a fourth-round stoppage win after the fight went ahead.
28 February 2004. Erik Morales w pts 12 Jesus Chavez.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Scorecards: 118-108, 117-109, 115-112.
Fight Summary: Having been stunned in the opening round the challenger regrouped to drop Chavez (130) twice in the second before the contest turned into a war of attrition with neither man prepared to back down. Although both fighters were injured early on, Chavez damaging his right shoulder and Morales (130) his right hand, the action never slowed. The fourth session saw more damage inflicted when both were cut over their eyes, Chavez on his left side and Morales on the right. It was still exceptionally hard, each round being keenly contested, but as it wore on the quality was coming from Morales who duly became a three-weight world champion, having been an undefeated WBC/WBO junior featherweight champion and a WBC and undefeated WBC featherweight champion.
8 February 2004. Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai w rsc 7 Ryuhei Sugita.
Venue: Memorial Centre, Gifu, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Derek Milham.
Fight Summary: In his first defence since being awarded the title Sor Nanthachai (130) quickly got into his stride, scoring with heavy combinations prior to dropping Sugita (129½) in the second round with a cracking southpaw right hook. Back in the fight, Sugita began to prove an elusive target, even scoring with straight rights as Sor Nanthachai walked in, but after being sent reeling into the ropes having been hurt by a barrage of punches in the seventh the Thai was rescued by the referee with 11 seconds of the session remaining.
4 October 2003. Carlos Hernandez w tdec 10 Steve Forbes.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Pat Russell.
Scorecards: 97-93, 97-94, 98-92.
Fight Summary: Staying close to his cleverer opponent from the start the champion decided that ‘killing’ the body would ultimately win him the fight, and although Forbes (129¼) occasionally found some room for solid punches the pair were mainly confined to close quarters. Badly hurt in the fourth, Hernandez (128½) doggedly stuck to his task, coming back at Forbes in the fifth before a terrible clash of heads saw blood pouring from the former’s left eye. Seemingly fading in the eighth and battered in the ninth, Forbes got going again in the tenth to hand out punishment of his own before colliding with Hernandez, whose face suddenly became a sea of blood. With the latter deemed unable to continue by the referee at the end of the round it went to the cards, Hernandez winning by a technical decision for the second time running in a championship contest.
15 August 2003. Jesus Chavez w pts 12 Sirimongkol Singwancha.
Venue: Convention Centre, Austin, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.
Scorecards: 118-110, 117-111, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Attacking the muscular champion with dangerous left hooks to the body Chavez (130) quickly stated his intent as he tracked his rival from the opening bell, but it was only in the fifth round that both men got off some serious punches to head and body. Although Singwancha (130) threw some pretty good shots in the latter half of the fight he was being outworked, and when he really opened up in the final couple of sessions it was all too little, too late.
9 August 2003. Acelino Freitas w rsc 12 Jorge Barrios.
Venue: The Arena, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBO. Referee: Jorge Alonso.
Fight Summary: With Barrios (129) badly cut over the left eye and the champion having suffered a damaged ear and put down in the eighth, the fight became a war of attrition as both men looked for the punch that would end it. Coming into the 11th it was extremely close, but when Barrios dropped Freitas (130) for the second time, a heavy right doing the job, it looked like it just might go his way. However, Freitas was not finished, and as Barrios tore in for the kill a huge right smashed him to the deck. Although the Argentine made it back to his corner to answer the bell for the final round he was twice slammed to the canvas before being rescued by the referee with 2.10 of the fight remaining.
Eventually, Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai, the ‘second tier’ champion, was given full championship status by the WBA when Freitas moved up a division on 15 January 2004 after winning the WBO lightweight crown. At the same time, Freitas automatically vacated the WBO junior lightweight title, an action that was followed by Diego Corrales and Joel Casamayor being matched for the vacancy.
15 March 2003. Acelino Freitas w rsc 4 Juan Carlos Ramirez.
Venue: UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: A replacement for Gabriel Ruelas, the challenger was soon on the back foot as Freitas (130) began to unleash his bombs from the opening bell. However, early in the second with Ramirez (130) proving adept in getting under the blows he suddenly opened up with a left hook to put the champion on the floor. Up immediately, Freitas ripped punches into Ramirez, who made it to the bell only to be assaulted with venom as the third got underway. Down twice from vicious blows to head and body, Ramirez somehow survived into the fourth where another tremendous battering awaited him. Racing out of his corner Freitas quickly got on with business, and following up some big punches a right uppercut smashed Ramirez down to be rescued by the referee 19 seconds into the session.
1 February 2003. Carlos Hernandez w tdec 8 David Santos.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 77-74, 78-73, 77-74.
Fight Summary: Fighting for the vacant title after Steve Forbes had been stripped of the belt Hernandez (129½) became the first man from El Salvador to win a world title when beating Santos (128½) on a technical decision. In control from the third round onwards the bull-like Hernandez, fighting like he was in a back alley, had just too much power for Santos, knocking him down in the fourth. Although boxing nicely at times Santos was forced to soak up storming attacks to the body. Santos eventually could not get off the ropes, and with Hernandez always dangerous with his head the inevitable happened in the eighth, leaving the former badly gashed on the right eye. With Santos unable to continue, and the referee calling it an accident, the decision went to the cards on the 2.52 mark.
13 January 2003. Sirimongkol Singwancha w pts 12 Yong-Soo Choi.
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Cappuccino.
Scorecards: 119-109, 119-109, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Impressing in his first defence, Singwancha (130) used his superior speed, good footwork and a snappy left jab to keep Choi (130) at bay for long periods. Although Choi, whose right eye was damaged before the first round was over, pushed on with heavy rights in the fifth and came again with non-stop aggression in the eighth and ninth he faded thereafter as the champion cruised through the remaining three sessions.
24 August 2002. Sirimongkol Singwancha w co 2 Kengo Nagashima.
Venue: Ryoguku Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richie Davies.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Floyd Mayweather Jnr had relinquished his belt on winning the WBC championship, the hard-punching Singwancha (130), a former WBC bantamweight champion, made good his opportunity when knocking out the southpaw Nagashima (130) with a crashing right to the jaw at 2.22 of the second. Following a feeling-out first round, with Nagashima moving and jabbing, Singwancha got his right hand working to blast the former to the canvas twice prior to the count-out in the second. Although Singwancha mistakenly threw a punch while his opponent was down and was rightly docked a point, ultimately it counted for nothing when Nagashima failed to take advantage of the extra breather.
3 August 2002. Acelino Freitas w pts 12 Daniel Attah.
Venue: The Dodge Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBO. Referee: Bobby Ferrara.
Scorecards: 117-110, 117-110, 117-110.
Fight Summary: While there was no doubting the champion’s power, it was ominous that since moving up in class Attah (130) became the third opponent in succession to deny him an inside-the-distance victory. Although he had not boxed for eight months the wily Attah, making a difficult target, gave Freitas (130) all the problems he could handle and never remained in one place long enough to be blown away. Docked a point for low blows in the tenth Freitas continued to land solidly, but with Attah taking whatever was coming his way without too much difficulty the contest virtually petered out before the final bell.
With Freitas still recognised by the WBA as their ‘super’ champion, Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai stopped Lamont Pearson in the ninth round at the Royal Square, Bangkok, Thailand on 5 December to retain the WBA ‘second tier’ title.
12 January 2002. Acelino Freitas w pts 12 Joel Casamayor.
Venue: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 114-112, 114-112, 114-112.
Fight Summary: Dominating the first half of what was a ragged fight between men trying to unify two titles and scoring a knockdown in the third round, Freitas (129½), the WBO champion, was too busy for his WBA counterpart, Casamayor (129½), before being slowed down by rabbit punches in the sixth. Subsequently, Casamayor, who was cut over the left eye in the third, came back into the fight although still not doing enough in terms of punch-rate. By the ninth, however, the Cuban was connecting more often as Freitas, his right eye gashed, was fighting wildly. The last three sessions were close, but Freitas appeared to want it more and kept punching, while Casamayor, although getting in the better shots, probably thought he had done enough and relaxed. Ultimately, the only difference between them on the cards was the third-round knockdown for Freitas and the point deducted from Casamayor in the sixth for hitting on the break.
Following this contest, with Freitas considered by the WBA to be their ‘super’ champion, on 13 April Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai outpointed Lakva Sim over 12 rounds at the Provincial Hall, Nakornratchasima, Thailand to claim the ‘second tier’ title.
10 November 2001. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w rtd 9 Jesus Chavez.
Venue: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jon Schorle.
Fight Summary: Back at his best the champion quickly got the measure of Chavez (129½) but the smaller man never backed off and was always looking to fire punches in, especially to the body, regardless of whether they hit the target or not. As the fight wore on, Mayweather (129½), landing with good jabs and banging in rights to the head, increased his lead virtually in every session before really opening up in the ninth. With Mayweather looking to finish it Chavez was forced to soak up heavy punishment, and although the Mexican was gritting his teeth and fighting back he was retired by his corner prior to the tenth getting underway.
After Mayweather relinquished the title on winning the WBC lightweight championship on 20 April 2002, Sirimongkol Singwancha was matched against Kengo Nagashima to find a new champion.
29 September 2001. Steve Forbes w pts 12 John Brown.
Venue: Miccosukee Gaming Casino, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Frank Santore Jnr.
Scorecards: 117-111, 115-113, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Forbes (130), a clever southpaw, proved too smart for the man he had beaten for the vacant title when boxing his way to victory without any mishaps, apart from being shaken up in the sixth and cut over the left eye in the eighth. The stocky, brawling Brown (130) was always right in front of Forbes as he banged away, but his punches either lacked quality or just did not land, and immediately prior to the final bell he was virtually out on his feet after being stunned by a vicious burst of punches.
On 18 August 2002, at the Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, Forbes (132¾) came in over the weight for a defence against David Santos. Although the fight went ahead, Forbes winning on points over 12 rounds, the title was declared vacant. With the number two ranked Jesus Chavez moving up a division, this was followed by Carlos Hernandez and Santos being matched to decide a new champion.
29 September 2001. Joel Casamayor w rsc 8 Joe Morales.
Venue: Miccosukee Gaming Casino, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Armando Garcia.
Fight Summary: Despite starting as though it was an exhibition bout Casamayor (130) got going in the second round, a solid right hook opening up a cut on the challenger’s left eye, while jabs and southpaw left crosses thudded home. Although controlling the fight with some ease it was not until the eighth that Casamayor began to open up again, Morales (129½) being staggered by a big right hand, and when the damage to his left eye worsened the referee called it off on the 2.04 mark.
26 May 2001. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Carlos Hernandez.
Venue: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Dale Grable.
Scorecards: 116-111, 117-109, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Complaining that both his hands were injured the champion put on a dismal display against Hernandez (128½), a huge underdog and a man he was expected to beat rather easily. Although Mayweather (130) occasionally cut loose Hernandez did not budge, even forcing the former to stumble to the floor in the sixth for what the referee termed a count. And despite the jab finding Hernandez at will on occasion, the unpopular Mayweather was still unable to maintain any rhythm.
5 May 2001. Joel Casamayor w pts 12 Edwin Santana.
Venue: Silver Star Casino, Philadelphia, Mississippi, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Armando Garcia.
Scorecards: 120-107, 120-107, 119-108.
Fight Summary: Even though he fought well above himself the challenger was not in the same class as Casamayor (129). That became clear in the second when he struggled to survive, in what was a 10-8 round, being unceremoniously battered from pillar to post by solid southpaw blows. Although Santana (128) somehow got through by the third he had already decided that he would be better served speeding around the ring while firing off punches occasionally. Continuing in that fashion for the rest of the bout, as Casamayor vainly tried to bring him down Santana received warm applause at the final bell for a plucky display.
27 January 2001. Acelino Freitas w co 1 Orlando Soto.
Venue: Nilson Nelson Gym, Brasilia, Brazil. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Fight Summary: With Freitas (130) coming out fast for the opening session, the under-fire Soto (129¾) was unable to stem the flow of punches coming his way. There was no respite for the challenger, and after getting up, having been dumped by a barrage of blows, he was dropped again and counted out at 2.13 of the first round.
20 January 2001. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w rsc 10 Diego Corrales.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Fight Summary: Never really getting into the fight after giving up his IBF Championship Belt in order to go for the WBC title, Corrales (130), who failed to use his height-and-reach advantages, was pounded to defeat at 2.19 of the tenth round. Landing as he pleased throughout with all manner of shots, Mayweather (130) eventually floored Corrales in the seventh with a crunching left hook, knocking him down twice more before the session ended. There were no further knockdowns in the next two rounds as Mayweather took it easy, but all that changed at 2.19 of the tenth when Corrales, having been dropped twice more, was rescued by the referee.
6 January 2001. Joel Casamayor w rsc 9 Roberto Garcia.
Venue: Texas Station Gambling Hall, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Fight Summary: Having surprisingly built up a lead over the southpaw champion the bustling Garcia (129½) eventually ran foul of heavy punches tossed in during the sixth, ending the round with his right eye cut and lucky to make it to his stool. Deducted a point in that period for rabbit punching, Casamayor (130) tried to pick it up in the seventh, but met with solid resistance as Garcia landed some hurtful blows, including a cracking right to the jaw. Casamayor finally began to take over in the eighth, and in the next session following a terrific shot to the midsection he began to get his left hook working, flooring Garcia twice before the referee intervened at 1.14 of the ninth.
3 December 2000. Steve Forbes w rsc 8 John Brown.
Venue: Miccosukee Gaming Casino, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jorge Alonso.
Fight Summary: Contesting the title left vacant on Diego Corrales’ decision to challenge for the WBC Championship Belt it was the better boxing of Forbes (130) that ultimately won the day, the tough Brown (130) being pulled out by the referee at 2.22 of the eighth after suffering a perforated eardrum. There was never much between them as the stocky Brown, much the smaller, continually crowded the classier Forbes. At times there was almost no room to breathe. In the fifth and sixth rounds Forbes began to find the space for his punches, landing good jabs and hard rights though lacking the firepower to keep Brown at bay for long. Having opened up in the eighth as the pace died down Forbes was now getting to Brown far more readily, and although the latter was not apparently hurt it was the damaged ear that brought his night to an end.
23 September 2000. Acelino Freitas w rsc 9 Carlos Rios.
Venue: The Casino, Rama, Ontario, Canada. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Dale Grable.
Fight Summary: For eight rounds Freitas (130) had difficulty getting to grips with Rios (129½), and when he did catch up the challenger proved both tough and resilient. However, sooner or later Freitas had to find his mark. It came in the ninth after a long right had buckled Rios’ knees, Freitas jumping on the Argentine with a flurry of heavy punches which resulted in a right-left hook depositing the latter on the deck with blood spurting from his left eye. Although Rios somehow managed to get up, on realising that he was in no fit way to continue the referee stopped the contest on the 1.18 mark after the towel had been thrown in by the Argentine’s corner.
16 September 2000. Joel Casamayor w rsc 5 Radford Beasley.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Fight Summary: Although Beasley (129½) won the first round with good straight punches, by the second Casamayor (130) was beginning to find the range, and following two solid left crosses the challenger was cut on the right eye. Throughout the third and fourth it was apparent that Casamayor’s speed was just too much for Beasley, as blinding barrages of blows constantly thudded into him. By now, the American was also cut over the left eye. Up against it in the fifth, Beasley surprisingly remained erect under the avalanche of blows coming his way until the referee brought the fight to a close after 52 seconds of the session had elapsed.
2 September 2000. Diego Corrales w rsc 3 Angel Manfredy.
Venue: Don Haskin’s Centre, El Paso, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jerry McKenzie.
Fight Summary: With an enormous advantage in height and reach the champion made excellent use of his jab before switching to the body, and prior to the end of the opening round Manfredy (130) was dropped by cracking left-hook counter. Handling Manfredy with ease in the second the upright Corrales (129¾) boxed effortlessly, scoring well with two-handed attacks, and in the third the former was ready to go as long, hard punches ripped into him prior to a big left hook eventually putting him down for the second time. Back on his feet, after the challenger got up again from yet another knockdown and was stumbling around the referee stopped the action at 2.38 of the session.
Corrales’ management team relinquished the IBF version of the title on his behalf in October in order for him to challenge Floyd Mayweather Jnr for the WBC crown. Following this, Steve Forbes was matched against John Brown in a contest for the vacant title.
10 June 2000. Acelino Freitas w rsc 2 Lemuel Nelson.
Venue: Fox Theatre, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Dale Grable.
Fight Summary: Despite having problems making the weight Freitas (130) was soon into action, Nelson (130) being badly wobbled several times before throwing a right hand that put the champion down. As soon as Freitas was back on his feet Nelson was in trouble again from the right hand, and in the second round there was again no respite for the American as he continued to be bombed by heavy rights. It obviously could not last much longer. After Freitas had sent his man staggering along the ropes and was smashing in punches freely, the referee rescued Nelson just before he hit the canvas with one second of the round remaining.
21 May 2000. Joel Casamayor w rsc 5 Jong-Kwon Baek.
Venue: Harrah’s Hotel & Casino, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Mitch Halpern.
Fight Summary: After loosening up with a couple of southpaw jabs and a heavy left cross in the opening round it was obvious that the ‘interim’ title holder, Casamayor (130), was going to be too much for the champion. Having started the second by picking Baek (129½) off, when Casamayor began to open up in the third the champion was cut over the left eye and subjected to a battery of jabs and counters. By the fourth Baek was bleeding over both eyes, and even when he did let his punches go the Cuban proved too elusive. With Baek in a worsening position and Casamayor continuing to dominate the referee called it off at 2.18 of the fifth.
18 March 2000. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Gregorio Vargas.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 119-108, 119-108, 118-109.
Fight Summary: Coming back to the ring after a six-month layoff, Mayweather (130) easily defended his title against Vargas (130) when taking virtually every round by using his superior speed. Sticking to his boxing, the only time Mayweather had the challenger in trouble was in the sixth when a great left hook to the body put the Mexican down before the bell came to his aid. However much he tried Mayweather could not drop Vargas again, and the last round saw him firing in fast left hooks and uppercuts without the latter being put under too much pressure.
18 March 2000. Diego Corrales w rsc 3 Derrick Gainer.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: Although he kept the champion at bay in the opening two rounds, mainly using the jab and throwing harmless flurries, the southpaw Gainer (130) was living on borrowed time as Corrales (130) gradually moved up a gear to close the gap. In the third, Corrales walked in hooking and uppercutting before flooring Gainer with a cracking left hook, and after the latter clambered up and was dropped again, the referee called it off on the 1.50 mark.
On 17 June, at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, Corrales (130) stopped Justin Juuko, weighing 129½lbs, in the tenth round of a contest sanctioned by the International Boxing Association (IBA), but not the IBF who had already lined up Arnulfo Castillo as Corrales’ next challenger.
18 March 2000. Acelino Freitas w co 1 Javier Jauregui.
Venue: Creditcard Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Fight Summary: Making his third defence, and with a record of 24 straight wins all inside the distance, there were not many betting against Freitas (130). It was soon clear that Freitas could hurt Jauregui (129¾), having caught him with a cracking left hook not long after the opening bell, and after forcing his rival to the ropes with the jab another tremendous left hook sent him down to be counted out on the 1.25 mark.
30 January 2000. Jong-Kwon Baek drew 12 Kyu-Chul Choi.
Venue: Indoor Gym, Pohang, South Korea. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Fernando Estrella.
Scorecards: 117-112, 115-115, 114-116.
Fight Summary: In a tight battle throughout, with no knockdowns recorded, the champion just about held on to his title when neither man was able to put a winning run together. Although the taller Choi (129½) was the better technician of the pair, continuously trying to outbox Baek (130) from range, the latter stuck to his task aggressively as he looked to get his punches off. Despite winning 22 rounds on the three judges’ scorecards, the result certainly did not favour Choi.
15 January 2000. Acelino Freitas w rsc 8 Barry Jones.
Venue: The Dome, Doncaster, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Samuel Viruet.
Fight Summary: Knocked down inside the opening 15 seconds by a left-hook counter certainly was not in the script for the champion, but having got over his embarrassment he settled down to drop Jones (128½) twice before the first round was over. More pressure ensued in the third as Jones tried to keep on the move, and it was not long before Freitas (130) decked him for ‘eight’ with a left hook under the ribs. Although Jones did his best to avoid trouble in the third a right over the top put him down again for ‘eight’. Despite that, he came back magnificently to win the next two sessions prior to him being on the floor again, in the seventh, having taken a heavy right to the head. Even though Jones, cut over the right eye, came out for the eighth he was soon decked again, this time by a left hook to the ribs for ‘eight’. With Freitas in full flow, and having received a further battering, the referee called a halt on the 50-second mark after Jones' corner threw the towel in.