Junior Welterweight World Championship Fights & Title Claims
Full junior welterweight fight details from 1923 to September 2016 (plus middle, junior middle, and welter) are available in a definitive companion book:
Full Fight Details from 2000 Onwards:
7 October 2018. Kiryl Relikh w pts 12 Eduard Troyanovsky.
Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Guillermo Perez Pineda.
Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 115-113.
14 September 2018. Jose Carlos Ramirez w pts 12 Antonio Orozco.
Venue: Save Mart Arena, Fresno, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Marcos Rosales.
Scorecards: 119-107, 119-107, 119-107.
9 June 2018. Maurice Hooker w pts 12 Terry Flanagan.
Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Terry O’Connor.
Scorecards: 115-113, 111-117, 117-111.
17 March 2018. Jose Carlos Ramirez w pts 12 Amir Imam.
Venue: Madison Square Garden Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ricky Gonzalez.
Scorecards: 115-113, 117-111, 120-108.
With Ramirez due to defend against Danny O’Connor at the Save Mart Centre, Fresno, California, USA on 7 July, the fight was called off when the latter failed to make the weight. Although Ramirez lost a pay day, O’Connor spent the night in hospital in a state of dehydration after his kidneys shut down.
On 14 July, Regis Prograis successfully defended his WBC ‘interim’ title when stopping Juan Jose Velasco inside eight rounds at the Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
10 March 2018. Mikey Garcia w pts 12 Sergey Lipinets.
Venue: Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Laurence Cole.
Scorecards: 117-110, 117-110, 116-111.
Garcia, now a champion at four different weights, relinquished the IBF title on 18 April so that he could concentrate on defending his lightweight crown.
10 March 2018. Kiryl Relikh w pts 12 Rances Barthelemy.
Venue: Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 117-110, 118-109, 118-109.
4 November 2017. Sergey Lipinets w pts 12 Akihiro Kondo.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ricky Gonzalez.
Scorecards: 118-110, 117-111, 117-111.
19 August 2017. Terence Crawford w co 3 Julius Indongo.
Venue: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. Recognition: World/The Ring. Referee: Jack Reiss.
Just 11 days later, on 30 August, Crawford handed in his IBF belt as he felt that taking on the body’s mandatory challenger, Sergey Lipinets, did not fit into his time frame. Further to that, Crawford relinquished the WBO and WBA versions of the title on 26 October after being named as Jeff Horn’s mandatory challenger for the WBO welterweight crown, and eventually handed in The Ring and WBC belts on 29 January 2018 on signing to meet Horn.
On 9 March 2018, Regis Prograis stopped Julius Indongo inside two rounds to win the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title at the Grand Resort, Deadwood Mountain, South Dakota, USA.
20 May 2017. Terence Crawford w rtd 10 Felix Diaz.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC. New York, USA. Recognition: WBC/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Steve Willis.
15 April 2017. Julius Indongo w pts 12 Ricky Burns.
Venue: SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: Steve Gray.
Scorecards: 120-108, 118-110, 116-112.
10 December 2016. Terence Crawford w rsc 8 John Molina.
Venue: CenturyLink Centre, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Recognition: WBC/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Mark Nelson.
3 December 2016. Julius Indongo w co 1 Eduard Troyanovsky.
Venue: Khodynka Ice Palace, Moscow, Russia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mark Calo-Oy.
7 October 2016. Ricky Burns w pts 12 Kiryl Relikh.
Venue: SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Howard Foster.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Up against a hard-hitting challenger in Relikh (140), the durable Burns (139¼) had to be at the top of his game to both box and fight his way to a points win in an all-action contest. The unbeaten Relikh, bringing 19 short wins from 21 outings into the ring, did his utmost to blast Burns into submission but found the Scot a difficult target to catch. And when he did catch up with Burns the latter was more than happy to fire back. Although Burns deserved the victory, the scorecards did not do Relikh justice.
9 September 2016. Eduard Troyanovsky w rsc 2 Keita Obara.
Venue: Krylya Sovetov Sports Arena, Moscow, Russia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Michael Ortega.
Fight Summary: Caught by a big right hand from Obara (139¼) towards the end of the opening session the champion was badly stunned before the bell came to his aid. Picking it up in the second, having sufficiently recovered, Troyanovsky (140) began landing heavy blows from his extended reach and before too long Obara was rocked by a cracking right to the head. Continuing the assault, Troyanovsky eventually smashed Obara through the ropes and on to one of the judge's table. Although Obara made it back in time to beat the count he was rescued by the referee on the 1.35 mark after being hurt by several big punches that threatened to do even more damage.
23 July 2016. Terence Crawford w pts 12 Viktor Postol.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 118-107, 118-107, 117-108.
Fight Summary: Although the WBC champion, Postol (139½), made a good start when winning two of the opening three rounds in his unification match against Crawford (140), the WBO title holder, by the fourth the latter had begun to stamp his mark on the contest. Having turned southpaw to confuse his man, in the fifth Crawford had Postol over twice, a right hook seeing the latter touch down before a heavy left hand secured the second knockdown. From thereon in it was all Crawford, and even in the 11th when Postol looked like winning the round he lost out when being deducted a point for hitting behind the head. This contest also involved the vacant Ring Championship Belt.
28 May 2016. Ricky Burns w rsc 8 Michele Di Rocco.
Venue: SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Terry O'Connor.
Fight Summary: Battling for the title forfeited by Adrien Broner, it was Burns (139¼) who took the fight by the scruff of the neck when stopping Di Rocco (139¼) at 1.57 of the eighth. While not losing a round Burns started the contest with a steady stream of left jabs prior to landing some solid blows that ultimately undid the Italian. Having been down in the third from a cluster of blows, Di Rocco probably knew that this was not going to be his night, and after struggling through to the eighth when a couple of heavy right hands left him on the floor it was all over. Burns joined the select band of men who have won titles at three different weights, having previously been a WBO champion at junior lightweight where he was undefeated, and at lightweight.
8 April 2016. Eduard Troyanovsky w rsc 7 Cesar Rene Cuenca.
Venue: Krylya Sovetov Sports Arena, Moscow, Russia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Malik Waleed.
Fight Summary: Giving Cuenca (139¾) another opportunity following their unsatisfactory first fight, the champion immediately got down to work with his long left jab picking the Argentine southpaw apart. Knocked down in the fourth from a hard right to the head, Cuenca resumed fighting before being dropped again in the sixth by a right uppercut as Troyanovsky (139¼) cut loose. Still not properly recovered, although Cuenca came out for the seventh he was soon in trouble following some serious body shots getting through, and when his corner advised the referee that they wanted their man pulled out after he had slipped over the third man obliged on the 2.14 mark.
27 February 2016. Terence Crawford w rsc 5 Henry Lundy.
Venue: Madison Square Garden Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Willis.
Fight Summary: Taking the champion a couple of rounds to readjust to the unorthodox Lundy (138¼), who threw blows from all angles, once he had, the writing was on the wall for the latter. Having switched to southpaw, by the third Crawford (139¼) was timing his blows better, and in the fifth he finally caught up with Lundy when dropping him with a solid straight left that was followed up by a left hook. Prior to that, two right jabs had opened Lundy up. Although he just about made it to his feet before the count reached 'ten' the referee halted the contest at 2.09 of the session after deciding that Lundy was in no fit state to continue.
4 November 2015. Eduard Troyanovsky w rsc 6 Cesar Rene Cuenca.
Venue: Basket-Hall Arena, Kazan, Russia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: David Fields.
Fight Summary: With a record of 48 unbeaten, the southpaw champion came unstuck when facing Troyanovsky (139) on the latter's home turf. Having had difficulty with Troyanovsky's jab all night, the Argentine not only failed to equal the legendary Rocky Marciano's unbeaten record but found himself without a title after being stopped at 2.44 of the sixth. Although one of the judges saw the fight as an even one up until the sixth mainly due to work-rate, Cuenca (139¼) had been systematically taken apart, and after being hammered by a solid uppercut before being pushed over the referee pulled him out of the fight.
24 October 2015. Terence Crawford w rsc 10 Dierry Jean.
Venue: CenturyLink Centre, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Fight Summary: The switch-hitting champion got away well in this one, dropping Jean (140) with a short right-hand counter towards the end of the opener, and hurting him again in the second with another right out of a southpaw stance. Whether it be one stance or another, Crawford (140) was the master of the situation, his jab from either hand being both solid and accurate. By the eighth it was all going one way, and having given a superb exhibition of hitting and not being hit Crawford put Jean down in the ninth with a left-right-left before battering the Haitian through the ropes in the tenth with similar blows. At 2.30 of the session the referee called the fight off after not bothering to take up the count.
3 October 2015. Viktor Postol w co 10 Lucas Martin Matthysse.
Venue: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.
Fight Summary: Going for the title vacated by Danny Garcia, the lanky Postol (139½) controlled the tough Matthysse (139½) for much of the time before knocking him out in tenth round. When Matthysse did manage to get inside where he could do some damage, Postol had no compunction in grabbing the Argentine prior to moving on. It was not that Matthysse failed to win any rounds, there being little between them come the eighth, but from there onwards it was Postol all the way. The finish came at 2.58 of the tenth after Matthysse stayed down following a punch that had smashed into his left eye. Afterwards, Matthysse stated that he could have got up but feared damaging his eyesight.
3 October 2015. Adrien Broner w rsc 12 Khabib Allakhverdiev.
Venue: USA Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Harvey Dock.
Fight Summary: In a fight for the title vacated by Danny Garcia, Broner (138½) picked up virtually all of the contested rounds without even getting out of first gear for much of the time. Having been out of the ring for 18 months Allakhverdiev (139) was never able to get to Broner, although one of the judges gave him the second and third rounds. The fight only warmed up when the Russian southpaw, cut under both eyes, realised he was miles behind on the cards and went after Broner, only to be picked off with solid shots as he came onto them. At the end of the 11th, the referee warned Allakhverdiev that he would stop the fight if he came under further attacks, and when he did the contest was halted with just 37 seconds of the 12th remaining. Broner became a four-weight world champion on winning, having been an undefeated WBO junior lightweight champion, an undefeated WBC lightweight champion and a WBA welterweight champion.
It was reported on 2 March 2016 that Jose Benavidez had handed in the WBA 'interim' title having decided to fight in a higher weight division.
Broner forfeited the WBA title when failing to make the weight for a defence against Ashley Theophane at The Armoury, Washington DC, USA on 1 April 2016. The contest went ahead with Theophane being stopped inside nine rounds and unable to claim the title.
18 July 2015. Cesar Rene Cuenca w pts 12 Ik Yang.
Venue: Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao, SAR China. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Danrex Tapdasan.
Scorecards: 117-108, 116-109, 115-110.
Fight Summary: Fighting for the title forfeited by Lamont Peterson, the 34-year-old Argentine southpaw made a good start when solid combinations sent Yang (139¾) reeling into the ropes upon which the referee gave the latter an 'eight' count on claiming that the strands had stopped him from falling. After going well, his movement keeping Yang guessing for much of the time, Cuenca (139½) was caught by a right hand that dropped him momentarily. Coming back strongly with solid lefts, from thereon in it was Cuenca all the way when controlling the fight at his own pace as Yang came on to his punches. Being deducted a point in the 12th for throwing Cuenca to the floor summed up Yang's night.
18 April 2015. Terence Crawford w rsc 6 Thomas Dulorme.
Venue: University of Texas Arena, Arlington, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Rafael Ramos.
Fight Summary: Contested for the title that was stripped from Chris Algieri, it was Crawford (139¾), the former undefeated WBO lightweight champion, who won when Dulorme (139¼) was rescued by the referee at 1.51 of the sixth. Starting slowly while taking a good look at his rival, Crawford boxed his way into the fight while Dulorme made a solid start when banging in overarm rights and left hooks. By the third, however, Crawford began to pick it up when letting both hands go. Although he did less work in the fifth, Crawford went for Dulorme in the sixth, and after knocking the Puerto Rican down three times, a left hook to the head, a flurry of blows and then heavy shots up and down doing the job, it was all over.
9 August 2014. Lamont Peterson w rsc 10 Edgar Santana.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Pete Santiago.
Fight Summary: Never competitive, the 35-year-old Santana (139½) was reduced to plodding after the champion and swinging overarm rights from distance. Winning every round contested, Peterson (140) scored well on the inside with solid shots to head and body, but was unable to drop his man. Eventually, with Santana taking a pasting in the tenth the ringside doctor advised the referee to call a halt as he was simply taking too many punches for his own good. The finish was timed at 2.48 of the session.
Peterson was stripped of the IBF title immediately after being beaten on points over 12 rounds by Danny Garcia, the WBA, WBC and Ring champion. Held at the Barclays Centre on 11 April 2015, the decision was made regardless of the fact that it was contested at 143lbs, three pounds over the junior welterweight limit.
14 June 2014. Chris Algieri w pts 12 Ruslan Provodnikov.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Harvey Dock.
Scorecards: 114-112, 114-112, 109-117.
Fight Summary: Appearing in the top league for the first time in his career, the lanky challenger made a dreadful start when being dropped twice in the opener by Provodnikov (139¾), a left hook to the jaw and then a right to the side of the head doing the damage. Following the first knockdown it could be seen that Algieri's right eye had begun to swell, and by the end of the contest it was closed tight. Despite that, the elusive Algieri (140) got his boxing together to make life difficult for the Russian, flicking out jabs while moving around on the back foot at pace. It was only when Provodnikov could get him on the ropes that he had any success, and he was way down on the cards coming into the final four sessions. Although Provodnikov picked up points as Algieri tired he was too far behind on two of the cards to make up the leeway in what was one of boxing’s biggest championship surprises.
On 2 November, Algieri was forced to abdicate his title, having signed to meet Manny Pacquiao for the latter's WBO welterweight crown later in the month.
15 March 2014. Danny Garcia w pts 12 Mauricio Herrera.
Venue: Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 114-114.
Fight Summary: With his three championship belts on the line Garcia (139¾) was soon on the front foot when looking to take the play away from Herrera (139¼), but before too long the champion was struggling to deal with the tempo of the fight. Jabbing well to head and body, Herrera made life difficult for Garcia, especially when negating his famed left hook by good movement off the back foot. It was only in the ninth after Garcia's nose had been spread across his face that he kicked on when taking two of the last three rounds to make sure of the majority verdict.
The WBA 'second tier' title changed hands when Jessie Vargas outpointed the champion, Khabib Allakhverdiev, over 12 rounds at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 12 April.
Johan Perez made a successful defence of his WBA 'interim' title when forcing Fernando Monte De Oca to retire at the end of the tenth round at the Jose Maria Vargas Sports Complex, La Guaira, Venezuela on 10 May. Next time out, on 12 July, Perez lost the WBA 'interim' title when outpointed by Herrera over 12 rounds at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Further successful defences of the WBA 'second tier' title for Vargas saw him beat Anton Novikov (w pts 12 at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada on 2 August) and Antonio DeMarco (w pts 12 at the Cotai Arena, the Venetian Resort, Macao, China on 23 November).
In his first defence of the WBA 'interim' title, Herrera was outpointed over 12 rounds by Jose Benavidez at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 13 December. Benavidez's first defence of the WBA 'interim' title, which came against Jorge Paez Jnr, resulted in a 12th-round stoppage win for him at the US Airway Centre, Phoenix, Arizona, USA on 15 May 2015.
Vargas relinquished the WBA 'second tier' title when moving up to take on Timothy Bradley for the vacant WBO welterweight crown in June 2015.
Looking to take in another non-title bout, Garcia was forced to relinquish the WBC Championship Belt on 11 June 2015 before handing in The Ring and WBA Belts on 11 September 2015.
25 January 2014. Lamont Peterson w pts 12 Dierry Jean.
Venue: The Armoury, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Scorecards: 118-112, 116-112, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Coming back from a non-title defeat at the hands of Lucas Martin Matthysse, the champion was never fully in control for long periods of this one as the unbeaten Jean (139) often gave as much as he took. It was when Peterson (139½) went to close quarters that he got more joy, many of the earlier rounds having swung back and forth. However, under instructions from his corner to keep things tight, the last three sessions went his way as Jean tired from his exertions.
19 October 2013. Ruslan Provodnikov w rtd 10 Mike Alvarado.
Venue: First Bank Centre, Broomfield, Denver, Colorado, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Fight Summary: Defending the title bequeathed him after both Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez handed their belts in, the switch-hitting Alvarado (140) came under considerable pressure in the opener before hitting back hard in the second. By the seventh, however, Provodnikov (140), cut over the right eye, was ahead, having survived the body shots that threatened to take him out. It was in the eighth that Provodnikov took over completely when battering Alvarado to the deck following a barrage of blows, and although the latter got to his feet just in time he was to all intents and purposes done for. Down again from blows to head and body, Alvarado made it back to his corner only to face a further battering in the ninth and tenth before being retired by his corner at the end of the tenth.
14 September 2013. Danny Garcia w pts 12 Lucas Martin Matthysse.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 115-111, 114-112, 114-112.
Fight Summary: Even though he dropped the opening three rounds on the cards as the hard-hitting Matthysse (140) landed some heavy shots, Garcia (140), with his three championship belts on the line, was never far away. There was never much between them, but from the seventh round onwards it was Garcia who began to take over, especially when Matthysse's right eye closed in that session. Becoming one-paced but still dangerous, Matthysse tried to find the punch he was looking for without success, and in the 11th he was belted to the deck after getting caught up in the ropes. The final round saw both men slugging, but at the bell it was Garcia who took the honours despite having a point deducted for a low blow in that session.
Following Pablo Cesar Cano’s decision to move up to the welterweight division in October, Johan Perez regained his WBA ‘interim’ title when outpointing Paul Spadafora over 12 rounds at the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort, Chester, West Virginia, USA on 30 November.
27 April 2013. Danny Garcia w pts 12 Zab Judah.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 116-111, 114-112, 115-112.
Fight Summary: Starting strongly, Garcia (139¾) took the fight to his southpaw challenger who seemed happy to make the three belt champion miss without doing much on the offensive side. Badly hurt in the fifth and sixth when hit by heavy right hands, Judah (140) was pushed back as Garcia looked for a finish, and in the eighth he was sent down from a left-right to the head. Having looked out of the fight, Judah came on to win the last three sessions as Garcia tired. The last round saw both men cut from a clash of heads as they tried to find a finishing blow, but although Judah had closed the gap it was not enough.
Khabib Allakhverdiev made a successful defence of the WBA ‘second tier’ title when stopping Souleymane M'baye inside 11 rounds at the Hall of Stars, Monte Carlo, Monaco on 13 July.
22 February 2013. Lamont Peterson w rsc 8 Kendall Holt.
Venue: The Armoury, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Fight Summary: Not looking his normal self in the opening three sessions, the champion picked it up in the fourth when a right to the jaw dropped Holt (140) after the latter had scored with solid blows of his own earlier. With Holt hurt and on the back foot Peterson (139½) went for the win, belting in punches from both hands to head and body before putting his rival down again in the sixth, courtesy of a two-handed burst of blows. Although making a desperate attempt to get himself back in the contest, Holt again came under attack in the seventh when another right hand wobbled him, and in the eighth after taking stick on the ropes the referee rescued the New Jersey man at 1.42 of the session.
20 October 2012. Danny Garcia w rsc 4 Erik Morales.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Benny Esteves Jnr.
Fight Summary: Putting his three championship belts on the line in what was a rematch Garcia (139¾) was far too strong for the shop-worn Morales (139¼), who despite banging in some good shots failed to make an impression on the champion. Having stumbled back to the wrong corner at the end of the third Morales seemed all at sea when coming out for the fourth, and having been smashed to the floor by a heavy left the referee stopped the contest without picking up the count at 1.23 of the session.
Khabib Allakhverdiev won the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title when beating Joan Guzman by an eighth-round technical decision at the BB & T Centre, Sunrise, Florida, USA on 30 November.
On 26 January 2013, Lucas Martin Matthysse retained the WBC ‘interim’ title when knocking out Mike Dallas in the first round at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
14 July 2012. Danny Garcia w rsc 4 Amir Khan.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Fight Summary: This was Garcia’s first defence of the WBC title he had won when defeating Erik Morales, who had failed to make the weight while Khan was defending the WBA title that had been handed to him after Lamont Peterson was stripped. The Ring Championship Belt, currently vacant, was also up for grabs in this one. Having made a great start when outspeeding Garcia (139) in the opening two rounds and cutting him over the right eye Khan (139) came under pressure in the third when body punches began to hold him up. One such punch that strayed low saw Khan being given time out to recover, but towards the end of the session a cracking left hook had him down and almost out. Trying to fight back in the fourth, Khan was floored following a heavy right before his night came to an end after another big left hook had him down again. Although getting up at the count of 'eight', the referee pulled Khan out of the contest on the 2.28 mark after deciding that he was not in a fit state to carry on.
Lucas Martin Matthysse won the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title when stopping Olusegun Ajose inside ten rounds at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas on 8 September.
10 December 2011. Lamont Peterson w pts 12 Amir Khan.
Venue: Convention Centre, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: Joe Cooper.
Scorecards: 113-112, 113-112, 110-115.
Fight Summary: In what was a shock result, Peterson (140) picked up both of Khan's titles on being awarded the split decision. Khan (139) had started strongly enough, dropping Peterson with a left in the opener that the referee ignored before banging him over again with a right to the head for an 'eight' count. Although Peterson showed persistence when attacking the body and pressing Khan at all times, had it not been for two points deductions for pushing in the seventh and 12th the latter would have retained his titles. The seventh and eighth were big for Peterson, who hammered away non-stop, but Khan was throwing the cleaner punches throughout. Finishing the battle with his right eye swollen shut, Peterson had finally proved himself on the world stage.
On 10 December, at the Fair Stockade, Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, Johan Perez won the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title after scoring three knockdowns prior to stopping Fernando Castaneda in the fourth round. Perez would lose his title on 21 July 2012, at the Oasis Hotel Complex, Cancun, Mexico, when beaten by Pablo Cesar Cano on a seventh-round technical decision.
Having failed a drugs test that forced a return with Khan to be cancelled shortly before the fight was due to take place, Peterson was eventually stripped of the WBA Belt on 10 July 2012. The WBA then made the decision to reinstate Khan as champion, while the IBF decided in early August that Peterson would remain as their champion following a report by an independent physician.
12 November 2011. Timothy Bradley w rsc 8 Joel Casamayor.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Fight Summary: Despite retaining his title, Bradley (140) found it difficult to impress against a southpaw opponent who was happy to hang on from the opening round. Continuing in this vein, Casamayor (140) was docked a point in the fourth, and in the fifth Bradley had him over from a right to the head before having the Cuban on the floor again in the sixth from what appeared to be more of a push than a punch. Despite getting through the seventh unscathed, after going down following several heavy blows Casamayor was rescued at the count of 'eight' when the referee took note of the towel being waved from his corner. The finish was timed at 2.59 of the eighth.
Juan Manuel Marquez won the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title when outpointing Serhiy Fedchenko over 12 rounds at the New Arena, Mexico City, Mexico on 14 April 2012.
When Bradley vacated the title on 27 June 2012 after winning the WBO welterweight crown, Marquez, the ‘interim’ champion, was handed full championship status. This decision saw Marquez join a small band of men who had held world titles at four different weights, having been the undefeated IBF/WBA/WBO featherweight champion, WBC junior lightweight champion and undefeated WBA/WBO lightweight champion.
The vacant WBO ‘interim’ title was then won by Mike Alvarado, who outpointed Brandon Rios over 12 rounds at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada on 30 March 2013.
Marquez relinquished the WBO title on 12 October 2013 when taking on Bradley for the welterweight crown. At the same time, Alvarado, who was due to defend his WBO 'interim' title against Ruslan Provodnikov a week later, was elevated to full championship status.
17 September 2011. Erik Morales w rtd 10 Pablo Cesar Cano.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Fight Summary: Fighting to decide the vacant title after Timothy Bradley was stripped, Morales (140) forced Cano (140) to retire at the end of the tenth round. Although the bout had been closely fought, both men had showed signs of wear and tear by the seventh, Cano carrying cuts above and below the left eye while Morales had blood leaking from the right optic. Regardless that Cano had the better of the seventh, from thereon in Morales took over, his heavy right hand wreaking havoc with his rival's features. Continuing to hone in on Cano's left eye with heavy rights, when the cut turned into a gash in the tenth the damaged fighter was pulled out by his corner at the end of the round after the ringside doctor showed concern. Morales became a four-weight world champion on winning, having been an undefeated WBC/WBO junior featherweight champion, a WBC and undefeated WBC featherweight champion and a WBC and undefeated IBF junior lightweight champion.
Morales lost his title on the scales when coming in at 142lbs for a defence against Danny Garcia (139½) at the Reliant Arena, Houston, Texas, USA on 24 March 2012. After the fight went ahead, Garcia took the title when outpointing the 35-year-old veteran over 12 rounds.
23 July 2011. Amir Khan w co 5 Zab Judah.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Fight Summary: In a contest to unify two championship belts, Khan (140), the WBA champion, met the IBF's Judah (140), a southpaw who had been around since 1996. Right from the onset it was clear that Khan, his long arms pushing out lefts and rights, had far too much speed for the American, who was forced to take more punches than he would have wished for. Having continued his attack on Judah in the fifth, Khan found two rights, one to the head and the other to the body that sent his opponent down to be counted out at 2.47 of the session.
Following Khan being recognised by the WBA as their ‘super’ champion on 23 July, after Marcos Maidana was upgraded from ‘interim’ to ‘second tier’ champion he made his first defence on 23 September when stopping Petr Petrov in the fourth round at the German Gymnastic Club, Villa Ballester, Argentina.
On 22 October, the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title fight between Brunet Zamora and Alberto Mosquera at the Roberto Duran Arena, Panama City, Panama, failed to produce a champion following a 12-round draw.
Maidana vacated the ‘second tier’ title in July 2012 when moving up a division.
16 April 2011. Amir Khan w tdec 6 Paul McCloskey.
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 60-54, 60-54, 60-54.
Fight Summary: Although he failed to put McCloskey (139) away, the champion was far too fast for the Northern Ireland southpaw, who was pedestrian by comparison. According to the judges Khan (139) won every round, his control of the contest increasing from the third onwards as McCloskey planted his feet and looked to make himself a difficult target. When heads accidentally came together in the sixth and left McCloskey nursing a badly cut left eye, the referee immediately called for the ringside doctor's advice on the 2.02 mark. As far as the medic was concerned it was over, and following the cards being called for Khan was awarded the technical decision.
5 March 2011. Zab Judah w rsc 7 Kaizer Mabuza.
Venue: Prudential Centre, Newark, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Samuel Viruet.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Devon Alexander was stripped, the American southpaw, Judah (138), stepped up to the plate when stopping Mabuza (139) in the seventh. Boxing in a style reminiscent of Pernell Whitaker, Judah certainly looked the part before being forced to touch down in the fourth following a long right to the head. To the onlookers it looked more like a slip, and to back that up only one of the judges noted it as such. Although Mabuza did well in the fifth and sixth in the seventh Judah took over from him after forcing his opponent to take a standing count following a left-hand counter. Tearing into Mabuza, both hands firing, after 59 seconds of the session the referee jumped in to save the still upright South African from taking further punishment. Judah was once again a champion.
29 January 2011. Timothy Bradley w tdec 10 Devon Alexander.
Venue: The Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan, USA. Recognition: WBC/WBO. Referee: Frank Garza.
Scorecards: 97-93, 96-95, 98-93.
Fight Summary: It was the WBO champion, Bradley (139½), who made the better start as the WBC's Alexander (140) took a while to become accustomed to the pace and was forced to assimilate a tremendous left hook to the head. Towards the end of that session a clash of heads left Alexander with a swelling over the right eye, and into the sixth he had to absorb another heavy right hook to the head before fighting back. Having complained of yet another head butt in the ninth, and with his eye damage worsening, the St Louis southpaw came out for the tenth only for another clash of heads to leave him unable to see out of the right eye. Following the ringside doctor's advice, after the referee called for the cards at 1.29 of the session the technical decision went to Bradley, his headwork going unpunished.
Bradley forfeited the WBC Belt on 28 July due to inactivity after failing to make a match with Amir Khan and falling out with his promoter, an action that was followed by Erik Morales and Lucas Martin Matthysse being matched to find a successor. Unfortunately, the latter pulled out sick with a week to go and was replaced by Pablo Cesar Cano.
11 December 2010. Amir Khan w pts 12 Marcos Maidana.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 114-111, 114-111, 113-112.
Fight Summary: An extremely tough fight saw the champion hold off the relentless Maidana (139) to take the unanimous decision despite being forced to take 122 power punches. Khan (140) certainly started well, his fast hands bemusing Maidana, and towards the end of the first session two serious body shots had the latter down and almost out. Although Maidana came back strongly and was always dangerous he had dropped seven of the opening ten rounds by the start of the 11th, but looked to make up for that when smashing Khan all around the ring in what was a 10-8 round for the Argentine. Showing great mental toughness, Khan, who somehow remained upright to weather the storm while on wobbly legs, managed to get through the 11th and 12th without further damage. Maidana was deducted a point in the fifth for use of the elbow.
Maidana outpointed Erik Morales over 12 rounds at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title on 9 April 2011.
7 August 2010. Devon Alexander w pts 12 Andriy Kotelnyk.
Venue: Scot Trade Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 116-112.
Fight Summary: Putting his two championship belts on the line the southpaw champion threw more power shots than Kotelnyk (139½), but the latter contained him to some degree when defending well and scoring with accurate blows to head and body. The problems for Alexander (139¼) came about after allowing himself to be sucked into a fight when he should have stuck to his boxing. Although Alexander landed fewer punches than Kotelnyk, 202 to 225, despite throwing 1,113 to 763 according to CompuBox, all three judges gave him eight of the contested rounds because many of his shots were more powerful and had more effect. Afterwards, Alexander, who finished with a bad cut over the right eye, stated that he had fought the wrong fight and would improve next time out.
Alexander forfeited his IBF Belt on 22 October for not being prepared to make a defence against the number one contender, Kaizer Mabuza, who was then matched against Zab Judah for the vacant title. Mabuza had beaten Kendall Holt (w rtd 6 at Bally’s Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey on 27 February) in an eliminator to get his chance, while Judah had recently outpointed Lucas Martin Matthysse.
15 May 2010. Amir Khan w rsc 11 Paul Malignaggi.
Venue: MSG Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Fight Summary: Banging in punches as if there was no tomorrow, the champion raced away with the rounds despite Malignaggi (139) trying his best to stay in the fight. Dropped in the fifth from a left to the body that the referee saw as a slip, Malignaggi continued to fall behind as Khan (139½) moved at pace. At the end of the tenth, after a debate in Malignaggi's corner with the ringside doctor, the corner sent their man out for the 11th, only for him to come under fire from big lefts and rights before the referee came to his rescue on the 1.25 mark.
On 28 August, at the Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcos Maidana retained the WBA ‘interim’ title when outpointing DeMarcus Corley on points over 12 rounds.
6 March 2010. Devon Alexander w rsc 8 Juan Urango.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.
Fight Summary: Fighting to decide two championship belts, Alexander (139¼), the WBC champion, stopped the IBF representative and fellow southpaw, Urango (139¾), at 1.12 of the eighth round. There had been little between them up until then, Alexander boxing well with the jab and banging in right hands, while Urango tracked his man down and looked dangerous with heavy hooks from both hands. It seemed as though Alexander was stepping it up in the seventh, throwing more combinations than previously, and in the eighth a right uppercut to the jaw put Urango down. Although Urango was up at 'six' Alexander soon measured the Colombian up again, and after flooring him with a heavy straight right followed by the right uppercut the referee decided that he was not fit to continue despite beating the count.
12 December 2009. Timothy Bradley w pts 12 Lamont Peterson.
Venue: Agua Caliente Casino, Rancho Mirage, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Pat Russell.
Scorecards: 120-107, 119-108, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Having taken terrific rights to the jaw from the champion in the opening two sessions, Peterson (139) was then dropped in the third by a short right to the back of the head. Back in the action, Peterson began to match Bradley (138) for body punches, but by the sixth the latter had gone to another level when bringing all of his armoury into play. Although falling well behind on the cards, Peterson never gave up and was still there at the end of the fight, outpointed but not vanquished.
4 December 2009. Amir Khan w rsc 1 Dmitriy Salita.
Venue: Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Yet again making a fast start, the champion cracked in a left-right that had Salita (140) down after very few punches had been thrown. Although Salita was up at 'six' he was quickly put under pressure as Khan (139½) tore into him two-fistedly, and before long he had been pounded to the canvas again. This time Salita made it up at 'four'. Back in the fray, Salita was soon being driven around the ring as Khan went for the finish. Unable to match Khan's speed Salita tried to clinch, but when a short left to the head sent him into the ropes the referee came to his rescue at 1.16 of the first.
Marcos Maidana retained his WBA ‘interim’ title when knocking out Victor Manuel Cayo in the sixth round at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 27 March 2010.
28 August 2009. Juan Urango w rsc 11 Randall Bailey.
Venue: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, Hollywood, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tommy Kimmons.
Fight Summary: Both men being big punchers it had been fairly close during the opening five rounds, with the southpaw champion just ahead of Bailey (139½) due to a better work-rate. However, a dramatic turnaround in the sixth saw Urango (139) floored heavily by a right-hand counter for 'nine' before getting back into the action gingerly, sporting a cut on the right eye. Although having Urango at his mercy, Bailey failed to take advantage and soon found himself under the cosh. Dropped twice in the ninth, a countering left and then a right uppercut-left hook doing the trick, Bailey barely made it up from the first knockdown, and in the tenth a left-right put him over again. In the 11th it could be seen that both men had swellings around their eyes, but it was Bailey who was suffering the most. Having slipped over twice in that session, Bailey was rescued by the referee on the 1.51 mark after seeing the towel tossed into the ring by his corner.
1 August 2009. Timothy Bradley tdraw 3 Nate Campbell.
Venue: Agua Caliente Casino Resort, Rancho Mirage, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: David Mendoza.
Fight Summary: Starting fast, the champion was soon banging out both hands and working the body as Campbell (138½) tried to find a way into the contest. Following a clash of heads in the second, in which there were no cuts suffered, the third saw Campbell complaining to the referee about a cut that had appeared over his left eye. With the complaint being ignored, Bradley (139) immediately went on the attack, smashing in blow after blow on the unfortunate Campbell until the bell. Following an inspection by the ringside doctor during the interval the fight was called off and announced as a stoppage win for Bradley. However, following an appeal the result was changed to that of a no-decision (technical draw) on the grounds that the cut had been caused by a head clash and not by a punch.
1 August 2009. Devon Alexander w rtd 8 Junior Witter.
Venue: Agua Caliente Casino Resort, Rancho Mirage, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lou Moret.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Timothy Bradley was stripped, it was Alexander (138½) who became the new champion when forcing Witter (139) to retire at the end of the eighth round. When the switch-hitting Witter, who was cut on the left eye in the second, suffered further problems in the fourth when his left arm was severely damaged his chances of winning all but disappeared. Having won the opening five rounds, the American southpaw was taken out of his stride in the sixth as Witter came back at him, but from there on it was all downhill for the latter prior to his retirement.
18 July 2009. Amir Khan w pts 12 Andriy Kotelnyk.
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.
Scorecards: 120-108, 118-111, 118-111.
Fight Summary: Far too fast for the champion, Khan (140) came into the ring supremely confident and left it as the new title holder, having won virtually every round. Although Kotelnyk (139¾) had limited success in the third when getting off a few scoring blows it was Khan all the way, shooting in doubled-up jabs and great combinations that took all the play away from his opponent. For round after round it was much of the same, and it was only in the final session that Kotelnyk forced the fight as Khan backtracked to make sure he did not get caught nor did anything silly.
On 21 November, at the Liberty Sports Club, Sunchales, Argentina, Marcos Maidana defended his WBA ‘interim’ title when knocking out William Gonzalez in the third round.
2 May 2009. Manny Pacquiao w rsc 2 Ricky Hatton.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Fight Summary: With his Ring Championship Belt on the line, Hatton (140) took on Pacquiao (138), a southpaw who had successfully come up though the weight divisions since starting out as a junior flyweight back in 1995. Much faster than Hatton, right from the start the Filipino moved in under the punches coming his way to deliver shots of his own, a right hook to the jaw having the Englishman over moments into the fight. Although he got up at 'eight' Hatton looked all at sea, and when Pacquiao tore in again, throwing punch after punch, it ended with another visit to the canvas, this time courtesy of a heavy left. Not a defeatist, Hatton came out for the second, having some success, before the fight came to an end at 2.59 of the session after he had been floored by a tremendous left to the jaw and was pulled out of the contest by the referee who stopped the count.
To all intents and purposes Pacquiao moved on after beating Miguel Cotto for the WBO welterweight title on 14 November, but continued to be recognised as champion by The Ring until 26 July 2010.
4 April 2009. Timothy Bradley w pts 12 Kendall Holt.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBC/WBO. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 114-112, 115-111, 115-111.
Fight Summary: In a contest to unify two titles, Bradley (138¾), the WBC champion, took on the WBO's Holt (140). The contest started with a surprise when Bradley was dumped on the canvas in the opening round by a countering left hook, but he was soon back on his feet and looking to regain control. From the second onwards it was clear that Bradley would have to take more care of his defences, and he began to push on with fast jabs and solid body shots while confusing Holt with his movement. Having got into a winning position, Bradley again found himself on the floor when a glancing blow to the head put him down in the 12th but, unhurt, he got up to take the decision.
At the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico on 25 April, Lamont Peterson won the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title when stopping Willy Blain in the seventh round.
Bradley was stripped of the WBC title on 28 April when unable to agree terms to fight their number one challenger, Devon Alexander. Alexander had been due to meet Junior Witter for the WBC ‘interim’ Championship Belt, a contest that was rebilled as being for the vacant title.
7 February 2009. Andriy Kotelnyk w pts 12 Marcos Maidana.
Venue: Stadium Hall, Rostock, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Hector Afu.
Scorecards: 115-114, 115-113, 113-115.
Fight Summary: Pressurising the champion from the opening bell, throwing in punches from all angles, Maidana (140) was always a danger, especially as some of his body shots went low. However, showing a good defence, Kotelnyk (139½) blocked much of what was coming his way while countering solidly to pick up the points. It was only in the latter rounds that Kotelnyk, his face badly swollen, was able to pick his punches before coming under assault again. In the tenth, having been under the cosh in the previous round, Kotelnyk was given time out as Maidana went low again before coming back strongly. The last two sessions saw both men battling away as they tried to influence the judges in a contest that was close enough to have gone either way.
On 27 June, Maidana won the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title when he stopped Victor Ortiz in the sixth round at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA.
30 January 2009. Juan Urango w pts 12 Herman Ngoudjo.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Marlon Wright.
Scorecards: 118-108, 116-110, 120-106.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Paul Malignaggi was stripped, Urango (139), a southpaw, was clearly better than Ngoudjo (139¼) and the unanimous points decision in his favour was no more than he deserved. Having started strongly, Urango put Ngoudjo down twice with left hooks in the third, the latter being lucky to last the round. In fact, Ngoudjo never properly recovered, claiming later that his jaw had been broken in that session. From thereon in it was all Urango, banging in wide hooks from both hands to head and body, who took total control as Ngoudjo bravely made it to the final bell.
13 December 2008. Kendall Holt w pts 12 Demetrius Hopkins.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Allen Huggins.
Scorecards: 117-111, 116-112, 113-115.
Fight Summary: Though Holt (140) was due to defend against Ricardo Torres, the man he took the title from, when the latter pulled out a week before the fight Hopkins (140) was drafted in even though he had not boxed for 13 months. Not a spectacle by any means, it was more than boring, but at least Holt tried to force the fight despite being a natural counter puncher. There were no knockdowns and very few punches of quality on view, apart from in the seventh when Holt caught his man with a left hook to the jaw and a solid right to the body. There were some who felt that Hopkins had edged it, but at the final bell it did not seem to matter.
22 November 2008. Ricky Hatton w rsc 11 Paul Malignaggi.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Fight Summary: Once again putting his Ring Championship Belt on the line, Hatton (140) was always in control of Malignaggi (139), forcing him into corners and cutting down the ring until there was nowhere to go. Hatton also hit much harder than the clever American, who could never keep him at bay. In the latter stages Malignaggi was showing signs of wear and tear, his left eye cut and the right side of his face swelling up, and in the 11th with Hatton attacking the body the referee called the fight off after 28 seconds of the session on the advice of Malignaggi's corner.
13 September 2008. Timothy Bradley w pts 12 Edner Cherry.
Venue: Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Gary Ritter.
Scorecards: 118-109, 119-109, 117-110.
Fight Summary: Having stopped Stevie Johnston inside ten rounds to get a crack at the champion, Cherry (139¼) started aggressively with the overarm right being his weapon of choice. He also dug solidly to the body, as Bradley (139¾) would testify in the fourth. By the fifth, however, Bradley was in control as he banged out the jab and followed up with rights to the body to keep Cherry fully occupied. After knocking Cherry down in the eighth with a countering right Bradley settled down to box his man, and apart from taking a heavy shot to the head in the 11th he continued in that vein up to the final bell.
13 September 2008. Andriy Kotelnyk w pts 12 Norio Kimura.
Venue: Sports Palace, Lviv, Ukraine. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.
Scorecards: 119-109, 118-110, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Moving into Kimura (140) from the opening bell the champion, looking to assert himself quickly, was soon banging in left hooks to head and body as he pushed on. Even though the tough Kimura was up against it for round after round as Kotelnyk (140) pressured him he showed great resolve in making it to the final bell, having been on the end of sharp, accurate punches throughout. This was Kotelnyk's first defence.
5 July 2008. Kendall Holt w rsc 1 Ricardo Torres.
Venue: Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: Coming out fast at the bell it was not too long, 12 seconds in fact, before the champion sent Holt (139) crashing from a right to the jaw. Although getting up quickly Holt was soon under pressure as Torres (139) went for him, and following several wide punches that belted into him he was floored for the second time. Having hit Holt while he was in the act of rising with no reprimand, Torres chased his man down before being smashed into the ropes, courtesy of a short right to the head and an accidental head butt that stunned him further. Tearing off the ropes, a dazed Torres was caught by another right that dropped him on to a lower strand. The referee started the count before calling it off, the finish being timed at 1.01.
24 May 2008. Ricky Hatton w pts 12 Juan Lazcano.
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Howard Foster.
Scorecards: 120-110, 118-110, 120-108.
Fight Summary: With his Ring Championship Belt on the line, Hatton (140) beat Lazcano (139¾) easily enough, but was unable to floor him while being forced to take several hard shots himself. It was not one of the champion's better performances, but he did what he had to. Proving his durability, Lazcano took whatever Hatton threw at him, and despite being badly hurt at times he lasted the course. In the tenth, having been hit by a left hook, Hatton was thrown down before getting back into the fray, banging away to the final bell.
24 May 2008. Paul Malignaggi w pts 12 Lovemore Ndou.
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mickey Vann.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-113, 114-115.
Fight Summary: Looking to get a match-up with Ricky Hatton, the IBF champion, Malignaggi (139¾), took on Ndou (139) in a return, and after making a bright start found himself being dragged into a tough battle that had one of the judges voting against him. It was Malignaggi's speed of hand and foot against the single shots dished out by Ndou. By the tenth, after Malignaggi's work-rate had fallen away he was forced to take some heavy blows as Ndou, his left eye now swollen, tried to pull the coals out of the fire right through to the final bell.
Malignaggi was stripped of the IBF title on 19 September after signing to meet Hatton for The Ring Championship Belt rather than agreeing to make a defence against the number one challenger, Herman Ngoudjo, and the latter was matched against Juan Urango to find a new champion. Both men had won eliminating bouts to qualify for a title shot, Urango defeating Carlos Wilfredo Vilches (w co 4 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida on 23 April) and Ngoudjo beating Souleymane M'baye (w pts 12 at the Uniprix Stadium, Montreal, Canada on 6 June).
10 May 2008. Timothy Bradley w pts 12 Junior Witter.
Venue: Trent FM Arena, Nottingham, England. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Massimo Barrovecchio.
Scorecards: 115-113, 114-113, 112-115.
Fight Summary: Starting well, repeatedly beating the switch-hitting Witter (139¾) to the punch, the challenger looked to be a class operator when taking the play away from the Englishman. Every now and again Witter seemed as though he was getting into the fight, but after a heavy right hand to the jaw had him over in the sixth it could be seen that Bradley (139½) possibly had his number. Strangely, at the end of the ninth, two of the three cards had Witter in the lead despite him not performing at his best, but when Bradley ran off two of the last three sessions it the latter who took the split decision. On losing, Witter, cut over the left eye, moved further away from a contest against Ricky Hatton.
22 March 2008. Andriy Kotelnyk w rsc 12 Gavin Rees.
Venue: International Arena, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Defending his title for the first time, although Rees (140) went well in three of the opening four sessions, once Kotelnyk (140) got a grip from the fifth onwards there was only going to be one winner. Blocking many of the punches that Rees threw, while not allowing him room to work inside, served Kotelnyk well, his accurate jabs and long solid rights regularly finding their mark. In the seventh Rees was showing signs of wear, his left eye beginning to swell, and he was badly hurt by two left hooks. Despite showing up well in the ninth by the 12th Rees was nearly out of puff, and after he had gone down without a count and was being battered by lefts and rights the referee called it off with just 26 seconds of the contest remaining.
5 January 2008. Paul Malignaggi w pts 12 Herman Ngoudjo.
Venue: Bally’s Park Place Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Allan Huggins.
Scorecards: 117-111, 115-113, 116-113.
Fight Summary: Even though hotly contested, the scorecards showed the champion's unanimous points win over Ngoudjo (140) to be wider than it probably was. While both men thought they had won, Malignaggi (139) boxed below form and admitted so after the fight. Badly hurt in the seventh, Malignaggi somehow stayed firm as Ngoudjo failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Coming back well from that, Malignaggi won four of the last five rounds on the cards, even banging home a solid right uppercut in the tenth on his way to the win.
7 September 2007. Junior Witter w co 7 Vivian Harris.
Venue: The Dome, Doncaster, England. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Daniel Van de Wiele.
Fight Summary: Boxing better than he had for some time, the champion took Harris (139½) apart before knocking him out with a terrific left hook to the jaw after one minute of the seventh round had elapsed. Witter (139½) started strongly, running up the rounds when putting Harris on the back foot and hurting him with lefts and rights to the head and body. Although Harris came back somewhat, having gone down early in the fourth from a left-right which the referee claimed was a slip, before the round was over Witter had downed him again with a left hook to the jaw. Regardless of the fact that Harris did rather better in the fifth and sixth once Witter had caught up with him in the seventh it was all over.
1 September 2007. Ricardo Torres w rsc 11 Kendall Holt.
Venue: Jumbo Saloon Country Club, Barranquilla, Colombia. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: Having dropped the opening three rounds, the champion picked it up in the third and fourth, hurting Holt (139¾) with a countering left hook in the latter session, before being dropped in the sixth with a left-right to the head. Although nothing much happened during the seventh through to the ninth, it was Holt who was winning the rounds as Torres (140) tried to get himself going. Finally, in the 11th Torres found the punch he had been looking for all night when smashing Holt to the floor with a left hook. On Holt getting to his feet, after Torres tore into him landing solidly, the referee rescued the American at 2.24 of the round. Following the contest, Holt's people were asking for a rematch on the grounds that their man was struck in the face by a can of beer in the sixth and had his ankle grabbed in the 11th.
21 July 2007. Gavin Rees w pts 12 Souleymane M'baye.
Venue: International Arena, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.
Scorecards: 117-112, 117-113, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Working away like a Trojan, Rees (139½) upset the applecart when outpointing the champion in a contest that saw the much shorter Welshman use his lack of height to get inside and work the body. Despite Rees tiring at the midway stage, he was still busy. He even took on board some hard shots from M'baye (139½) before coming back strongly, and although the latter tried to raise his game it was ultimately a lost cause as the ebullient Rees continued to come on even though his left eye was beginning to close from the tenth onwards. Following the verdict it was the Frenchman who was left wondering where it all went wrong, while being forced to recognise that Rees' tactics were spot on.
23 June 2007. Ricky Hatton w co 4 Jose Luis Castillo.
Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Fight Summary: Putting his Ring Championship Belt up for grabs against the tough Castillo (140) seemed to be a tough ask for Hatton (140), but he surprised many when knocking his Mexican opponent out at 2.16 of the fourth. Starting strongly, Hatton dropped Castillo (140) in the opener with a left hook, only for the referee to classify it as a slip. Although Castillo got himself back into the fight in the second and third with strong jabs it was not enough to win the rounds and in the fourth he came undone. With both men trading in that session Castillo was docked a point when going low, but moments later after a left hook to the shoulder lifted the Mexican's guard when Hatton fired in a similar blow to the body he was downed. Never looking likely to rise, Castillo was counted out at 2.16 of the session.
16 June 2007. Paul Malignaggi w pts 12 Lovemore Ndou.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Scorecards: 118-108, 120-106, 120-106.
Fight Summary: This was the first defence of the title for Ndou (138¼), who had been given full championship status after Ricky Hatton had handed in his belt. Right from the opening bell it could be seen that Malignaggi (138) had the tools to outbox the champion, his speed around the ring and fast hands serving notice that the belt was going to be his. He even threw the right hand despite it letting him down in the past, and in the ninth one such punch to the head dropped the increasingly desperate Ndou. Having had a point taken away in the sixth for hitting behind the head, Ndou was now right up against it, but although he gave it his best shot, winning just two rounds on one of the judges' cards, he was a wide loser at the final bell.
28 April 2007. Ricardo Torres w pts 12 Arturo Morua.
Venue: University of the North Coliseum, Barranquilla, Colombia. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Uriel Aguilera.
Scorecards: 120-109, 120-108, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Dominating Morua (139¼) from the start, although the hard-hitting champion tried to finish it on several occasions he was unable to find the punches required. Several times Torres (139½) had Morua going, but it came to nothing as the latter used the ring well to avoid many of the blows thrown at him. Despite tiring towards the end Morua deserved to make it to the final bell, having nullified much of Torres' work.
10 March 2007. Souleymane M'baye drew 12 Andriy Kotelnyk.
Venue: Olympia, Liverpool, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Dave Parris.
Scorecards: 115-113, 112-117, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In what was a tough fight to score, M'baye (139¾) held on to his title when the judges saw it as a split draw, despite one of them having Kotelnyk (140) winning by nine rounds to three. Showing good hand-speed and marking Kotelnyk's face up with the jab, M'baye obviously did enough, but had the Ukrainian produced more work the result could have been different. Following the contest, Kotelnyk's management team lodged a protest with the WBA.
20 January 2007. Ricky Hatton w pts 12 Juan Urango.
Venue: Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 119-109, 119-109, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Coming back to the 140lbs division to defend his Ring Championship Belt, Hatton (139) took on the IBF champion, Urango (139), a man he looked to defeat in order to get his hands on his old title. Dropping one round at most, Hatton powered his way forward before being forced to take time out in the fifth after Urango went low. From thereon in Hatton boxed more sensibly, banging in solid lefts and rights before clinching as his southpaw opponent tried to move inside. The last few sessions saw plenty of mauling, but it was Hatton's fight.
Hatton relinquished the IBF title on 9 February when being told that he had to sign for a defence against the mandatory challenger, Lovemore Ndou, who had won a final eliminator at the States Sports Centre, Sydney, Australia on 4 February when forcing Naoufel Ben Rabah to retire at the end of the 11th. As Hatton had already signed to meet Jose Luis Castillo on 23 June his decision was an easy one, and following that Ndou was handed the IBF title on a plate.
20 January 2007. Junior Witter w rsc 9 Arturo Morua.
Venue: Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill, London, England. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Timothy Adams.
Fight Summary: Although the champion rolled off the rounds he failed to excite against Morua (139¾), a man who threw only jabs and the odd right before holding on and starting again. Landing solidly at times it appeared that Witter (139¾) could take Morua out as and when, but it was only in the seventh when the latter touched down for what the referee ruled to be a slip that he began to open up. After failing to find a way through in the eighth, when the switch-hitting Witter slammed in several solid rights and lefts to the head and body in the ninth, Morua was in trouble. With the referee observing that the ropes were holding Morua up, he issued a count before rescuing the Mexican moments later following three heavy head shots. The finish was timed at 2.12 of the session.
18 November 2006. Ricardo Torres w pts 12 Mike Arnaoutis.
Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 116-111, 114-113, 113-114.
Fight Summary: Fighting for the vacant title after Miguel Cotto decided to move up the weight scale, Torres (139) was let off the hook on several occasions before coming through to win narrowly on a split decision. Having won three of the opening four rounds it looked as though the hard-hitting Torres was on his way, but after hurting his right hand and then being floored heavily in the seventh by a southpaw right hook as Arnaoutis (138) countered things should have changed. Unfortunately for Arnaoutis he failed to build on that, and although pushing Torres back he was unable to pin him down long enough to do any damage while at the same time fearing countering blows. With his work-rate faltering, Arnaoutis let slip the chance of victory.
15 September 2006. Junior Witter w pts 12 DeMarcus Corley.
Venue: Alexandra Pavilion, Muswell Hill, London, England. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Massimo Barrovecchio.
Scorecards: 117-111, 118-112, 116-113.
Fight Summary: In what was a contest for the vacant title after Floyd Mayweather handed in his belt on moving up a division, it was the switch-hitting Witter (138¼) who got the better of his southpaw opponent to pick up a world title at his second attempt. Moving around at speed, Witter made life difficult for Corley (139½), his buzzing around tactics in differing stances confusing the American round after round. In the fifth it looked as though Witter was taking the bit by the teeth, hurting Corley with a right hook before sending the latter over for what the referee correctly ruled as a push. From the sixth onwards, however, it was Witter's power that threatened Corley. Although having Corley one punch away from defeat at times, Witter ultimately boxed his way to the unanimous decision in his favour.
2 September 2006. Souleymane M'baye w rsc 4 Raul Horacio Balbi.
Venue: Reebok Stadium, Bolton, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Paul Thomas.
Fight Summary: With the vacant title up for grabs after Ricky Hatton handed in his belt, M'baye (139½) took full advantage of the opportunity when battering Balbi (140) to defeat at 2.14 of the fourth. Feeling his way into the fight after being badly hurt by a left-right from Balbi in the opener, M'baye gradually got himself going in the second before dropping the Argentine with a solid right to the jaw. Showing an accurate long left M'baye was in full flow in the third, and in the fourth another heavy right to the head saw the hardy Balbi on the floor again. Having taken a count of 'eight' Balbi was back in the fray, but following a terrific right to his temple the referee stepped in to rescue him.
30 June 2006. Juan Urango w pts 12 Naoufel Ben Rabah.
Venue: Seminole Hard Rock Live Arena, Hollywood, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tommy Kimmons.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Ricky Hatton handed in his belt in order to fight for the WBA welterweight crown, Urango (139) outpointed Ben Rabah (138) in what was seen by many as a bad decision at the end of a poor spectacle. With Ben Rabah on the move and Urango, a southpaw stalking, there was little action but at least the former did whatever boxing there was. It was apparent that the judges gave Urango the win because it was he who had forced the fight despite him landing punches of little value.
10 June 2006. Miguel Cotto w pts 12 Paul Malignaggi.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 116-111, 115-112, 116-111.
Fight Summary: It did not start too well for the flashy Malignaggi (138¼) after heads came together in the opening round and left him with cut over the left eye, and in the second a left hook from the champion dropped him. When getting up a solid shot that smashed into Malignaggi's right cheekbone caused a swelling that would worsen throughout the contest. Right up against it, Malignaggi even took the fifth and sixth as Cotto (138¼) hunted him down, banging in solid blows to head and body. Showing tremendous spirit to last the distance, non-puncher Malignaggi's bravery saw him walk away with his pride intact, having withstood a battering at the hands of Cotto despite carrying a suspected fracture of the right cheekbone.
Cotto handed in his belt on 27 October after announcing that he would be meeting his fellow Puerto Rican, Carlos Quintana, to decide the vacant WBA welterweight title. Shortly after that the IBF stated that Ricardo Torres and Mike Arnaoutis would be contesting their vacant title.
4 March 2006. Miguel Cotto w rsc 8 Gianluca Branco.
Venue: Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: The champion started as he meant to carry on, blasting in lefts and rights at the 35-year-old Branco (140) as the latter went into defensive mode. Although Branco tried to hold his ground the more the contest moved on the more he failed to punch hard enough to deter Cotto (140), and although he had a good fifth round it was not sustained. Badly swollen on the right side of his face, Branco was really up against it before being pulled out of the contest by the referee after 49 seconds of the eighth had ensued.
26 November 2005. Ricky Hatton w co 9 Carlos Maussa.
Venue: Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF/WBA/The Ring. Referee: Mickey Vann.
Fight Summary: Looking to unify three titles as well as putting his Ring Championship Belt up for grabs, Hatton (139½) took on the WBA champion, Maussa (139¾), and was given no end of trouble before scoring a knockout at 1.10 of the ninth round. Cut over the left eye in the first 20 seconds and over the right eye two rounds later would have been a disaster for most fighters, but not for Hatton who merely gritted his teeth while getting on with the job. The durable and ungainly Maussa continually caused problems, and although Hatton was well up on the cards he was having some difficulty setting the Colombian up. Every time Hatton hurt Maussa the latter would come back strongly, but once the man from Manchester realised towards the end of the eighth that he should not be making the running, the outcome proved positive as he picked out a terrific left hook that dropped Maussa for the full count in the ninth.
Having given up the IBF Belt on 29 March 2006 when moving up a division to meet Luis Collazo for the WBA welter crown, Hatton then relinquished the WBA junior welter title on 4 May 2006 when it became clear that he could only boss one division at a time. After the IBF decided on a vacant title fight between Juan Urango and Naoufel Ben Rabah, who had beaten Arturo Morua (w pts 12 at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada on 17 September 2005), Souleymane M'baye and Raul Horacio Balbi were matched to find a new WBA champion.
24 September 2005. Miguel Cotto w co 7 Ricardo Torres.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: David Fields.
Fight Summary: In a topsy-turvy affair that included five knockdowns, having dropped Torres (140) in the first the champion was battered all over the ring in the second round before being put down for the first time in his career. The third session was relatively quiet by their standards, but in the fourth Cotto (140) again put Torres on the floor, only for the latter to come back firing heavy shots. It could not last. In the sixth Torres was floored for the third time, and although he got back up to last the round out the seventh saw him finally ground down and counted out on the 1.52 mark, a left hook being the finisher.
25 June 2005. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w rtd 6 Arturo Gatti.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Earl Morton.
Fight Summary: Exuding quality, class and confidence, Mayweather (139) backed up his boasts that he would win the title when forcing Gatti (140) to retire on his stool at the end of the sixth following a one-sided beating. Down in the first round from a left hook after being hit by punches coming in at blinding speed, if Gatti did not know it was going to be a hard night beforehand he knew it at that moment. For round after round it was torment for Gatti as Mayweather could not miss, and after being battered non-stop in the sixth the champion was wisely retired on his stool at the end of the session. Mayweather became a three-weight world champion on winning, having been the undefeated WBC title holder at junior lightweight and lightweight.
When Mayweather relinquished the WBC title on 1 April 2006 on moving up a division to meet Zab Judah for the IBF title, Junior Witter, who had beaten Lovemore Ndou (w pts 12 at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California on 19 February 2005) in an eliminator and DeMarcus Corley were matched to find a new champion.
25 June 2005. Carlos Maussa w co 7 Vivian Harris.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Albert Brown.
Fight Summary: Trying to knock out the ungainly Maussa (139) quickly in order to secure a match with the winner of Floyd Mayweather v Arturo Gatti, Harris (139) spent several rounds getting nowhere and had been cut over the right eye in the fourth. After being badly hurt by Maussa in the sixth, Harris started the seventh with some trepidation, and with the Colombian taking the initiative he was immediately put under pressure. Having softened Harris up with a series of wild-looking blows, when Maussa threw a long left hook that caught the champion flush on the jaw it dropped him to be counted out 43 seconds into the session.
11 June 2005. Miguel Cotto w rsc 9 Muhammad Abdullaev.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: John Callas.
Fight Summary: Because Abdullaev (138¾) had eliminated Cotto (138¾) from the 2000 Olympics there were a good few people thinking that the man from Uzbekistan might just be capable of winning the title. There was no doubting that it was a good match between two good fighters, and although Cotto won virtually every round there was never that much between them until Abdullaev’s right eye started to swell up in the eighth due to left hooks being concentrated on that area. Unable to see from that eye Abdullaev should have been retired during the interval, but after gesticulating that he did not wish to carry on and being inspected by the doctor the referee stopped the fight after 57 seconds of the ninth.
4 June 2005. Ricky Hatton w rtd 11 Kostya Tszyu.
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: IBF/The Ring. Referee: Dave Parris.
Fight Summary: In one of the great British fight nights Hatton (140) forced the once top-class champion to retire on his stool at the end of the 11th, having beaten him to a standstill. It was a sad end for Tszyu (140), but the challenger had taken everything that was thrown at him before coming on like a train to control the last few rounds. In outboxing and outpunching his rival, Hatton showed many of the qualities that great fighters need, and as well as the IBF title he had won The Ring Championship Belt on the result.
26 February 2005. Miguel Cotto w rsc 5 DeMarcus Corley.
Venue: Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Ismael Quinones-Falu.
Fight Summary: Having had trouble making the weight Cotto (140) started quickly as if to get his southpaw challenger out of the fight as soon as he could. And with Corley (137) on the back foot he was chased around the ring before being half-pushed over for a mandatory count. Both men were docked a point for low blows, Cotto in the second and Corley in the fourth, and in the third Corley actually had Cotto going with a right hook to the jaw when the latter had left himself wide open. Nothing, however, was going to stop Cotto in the fifth, and after stalking Corley to the ropes he twice put him down on one knee before the referee halted the contest on the 2.45 mark. Following the stoppage, Corley stated that he had gone down to take stock and was furious at the decision of the third man.
29 January 2005. Arturo Gatti w co 5 Jesse James Leija.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Earl Brown.
Fight Summary: Once again Gatti (140) met a challenger who appeared to be several divisions lighter, and once again the Canadian stuck to his newly developed boxing skills to make sure of victory. With Leija (140) looking to use a right over the top while Gatti used countering blows and jabs nothing much happened until the start of the fifth when the latter decided to open up. Having dropped Leija for ‘nine’ with a straight right early in the session Gatti bided his time, exchanging blows with his rival before whacking in a heavy left to the temple that saw the American counted out on one knee with 1.12 of the fifth remaining.
11 December 2004. Miguel Cotto w rsc 6 Randall Bailey.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Norm Budden.
Fight Summary: Although Bailey (139½) went into the fight full of purpose, by the end of the third round it had virtually been knocked out of him, heavy punches to head and body having floored him twice, in the second and third. Now cut over the left eye and shaken up, the former champion backed off during the next two sessions prior to Cotto (140) eventually moving up a gear in the sixth to batter him all around the ring with solid blows from both hands. When Bailey was cut on his right eye it was an injury that forced the referee to call it off on the 1.39 mark.
6 November 2004. Kostya Tszyu w rsc 3 Sharmba Mitchell.
Venue: Glendale Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Recognition: IBF/The Ring. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Fight Summary: Defending his two remaining belts Tszyu (140) did not waste too much time when going to work on the southpaw ‘interim’ champion, but in cutting the ring down he received a bad vertical gash alongside his left eye initiated by a clash of heads towards the end of the opening round. With Tszyu desperate to get the fight over, after Mitchell (140) strangely stayed on the inside in the second instead of using his speed he was made to pay as big rights drove him back to the ropes before a left hook dropped him for ‘five’. Almost as soon as the third had begun Mitchell had been smashed down by a right through the middle, and following two more knockdowns the referee stopped it with just two seconds of the round remaining.
23 October 2004. Vivian Harris w rsc 11 Oktay Urkal.
Venue: The Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Armando Garcia.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Harris (139¾) had already beaten Urkal (139) and knew exactly what he had to do this time round. There was never much between them, with Harris throwing the power punches and Urkal being the smarter boxer of the two, but as they entered the latter stages the challenger, cut on the right eye, was unable to raise his game. The 11th saw Harris up the pace to drop Urkal with a right to the jaw, and when the German got up and stumbled badly the referee stopped it with 56 seconds of the round gone.
11 September 2004. Miguel Cotto w rsc 6 Kelson Pinto.
Venue: The Coliseum, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Fight Summary: Fighting for the title that was left vacant when Zab Judah moved up a weight division, Cotto (140) showed himself to be a real star of the future when destroying Pinto (139). After just 15 seconds of the opener he had hurt the Brazilian with a solid left hook to the jaw before following it up with several more during the session. The fight could not continue like that, and having floored Pinto in the second and fifth rounds with big punches Cotto raced out for the sixth, lashing in blows to leave his opponent sprawling on the deck. Although the floundering Brazilian got up it was only when his corner demanded that it be stopped did the referee call it off, the finish coming 32 seconds into the round.
24 July 2004. Arturo Gatti w co 2 Leonard Dorin.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Randy Neumann.
Fight Summary: Right from the opening bell, with the challenger appearing to be too small for the weight division, Gatti (139¼) was looking to use the left as his main punch. After a quiet first round, as it became apparent that Dorin (139) would have to get closer to Gatti if he wanted to win he adopted this tactic in the second. Although he was able to push Gatti back a couple of times Dorin was obliged to take lefts and rights in return, but by now the champion was beginning to motor. The finish came after Gatti had thrown a left-right-left combination to the head before suddenly dropping in a terrific left hook to Dorin’s side that sent him down for the full count with just five seconds of the session remaining on the clock.
24 January 2004. Arturo Gatti w pts 12 Gianluca Branco.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Battle.
Scorecards: 116-111, 115-112, 116-111.
Fight Summary: Contesting the title which became vacant due to Kostya Tszyu’s enforced absence, although Gatti (140) won clearly enough, after breaking his right hand in the fifth round he was forced to rely on the left. Branco (140) was no slouch when it came to attack, having a rapier-like left jab and a fair right hand, but he was too upright, a failing that was more often than not exploited by the former undefeated IBF junior lightweight champion. The only knockdown came late in the tenth when Gatti exploded a left hook on Branco’s jaw. However, with Gatti failing to take advantage of the situation the Italian was let off the hook. Still dazed in the 11th Branco was caught by left jabs throughout the session, and even though another heavy left hook nearly dropped him in the 12th he was still there at the final bell.
13 December 2003. Zab Judah w co 1 Jaime Rangel.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Frank Cappuccino.
Fight Summary: In another battle of fellow southpaws the WBO champion, Judah (140), proved his right to the title when demolishing Rangel (140) at 1.12 of the opening round. With no sign of what was to come when the men came together at the start there were no real blows of note until Judah unleashed a cracking left cross that detonated on Rangel’s jaw and sent him crashing down to be counted out. Having disappointed last time out this was a perfect response from the champion.
Judah vacated the title after beating Rafael Pineda for the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight crown at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada on 15 May 2004. Following that, a match was made between Miguel Cotto and Kelson Pinto to find a new champion.
12 July 2003. Zab Judah w pts 12 DeMarcus Corley.
Venue: Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 115-112, 112-115, 115-112.
Fight Summary: Challenging for the title, and a battle between southpaws, by the third round the speedy Judah (140) was already proving to be too skilful, and towards the end of the session two left crosses had the champion down. However, with Judah failing to sustain the pressure it was close enough for the judges to disagree on many of the rounds. While Corley (139½) was never out of it he did not take advantage of the opportunities when presented to him, and although he had a good tenth round he failed to build on it. Despite the scores being much closer than anticipated, how one judge had Corley winning 115-112 was just amazing.
19 January 2003. Kostya Tszyu w rtd 6 Jesse James Leija.
Venue: Telstra Dome, Melbourne, Australia. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Malcolm Bulner.
Fight Summary: There was little action in the opening three rounds as both fighters settled, but following a few flurries from Leija (139) the champion began to dictate matters with a controlled left jab paving the way. While Tszyu (139¾) was beginning to go up a few gears in the sixth he appeared not to be looking to finish matters, although he was getting much closer to Leija who was beginning to flounder. The contest came to an abrupt halt during the interval between round six and seven when Leija’s corner decided to retire their man, having realised that he had burst his right eardrum.
With Tszuu due to make a defence in a rematch against the IBF’s number-one challenger, Sharmba Mitchell, in February 2004, the WBC decided to free up the title by giving him ‘Emeritus’ status at the end of December so that Arturo Gatti and Gianluca Branco could contest the vacant title.
When Tszyu became unavailable after suffering a ruptured tendon in in mid-January, Mitchell outscored Lovemore Ndou over 12 rounds at Bally’s Park Place Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA on 7 February 2004 to win the vacant IBF ‘interim’ title, prior to successfully defending it against Michael Stewart (w pts 12 at the MEN Arena, Manchester, England on 3 April 2004). Those two wins would eventually get Mitchell a crack at Tszyu for the IBF title and The Ring Championship Belt.
Increasingly difficult to satisfy all three bodies, when Tszyu forfeited the WBA title on 15 June 2004, Vivian Harris, who had successfully defended the WBA ‘second tier’ crown when beating Souleymane M'baye (w pts 12 at Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 12 July 2003) and Oktay Urkal (w pts 12 at the Max Schmeling Hall, Berlin, Germany on 17 April 2004), was given full title status by the WBA.
4 January 2003. DeMarcus Corley w pts 12 Randall Bailey.
Venue: The Armoury, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joseph Cooper.
Scorecards: 117-111, 116-112, 117-111.
Fight Summary: In a match where fireworks were expected the action was at best lacklustre, the fast and clever southpaw champion making a point of not allowing Bailey (139) to target him with the right hand. Although Corley (140) occasionally fired in jarring left crosses that hurt Bailey it was all too infrequent, and even when the latter found himself in range to unload the right hand more often than not he failed to do so. With the crowd becoming restless from before the halfway stage the fighters made some effort in the eighth, but when that fizzled out the men were booed for the rest of the contest.
18 May 2002. Kostya Tszyu w pts 12 Ben Tackie.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Jay Nady.
Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 119-109.
Fight Summary: As the IBF’s mandatory challenger Tackie (139½) won just one round as he bravely stayed on the front foot while being forced to take anything the champion cared to throw at him. Almost from the opening bell one could see that Tackie would have to get lucky if he wanted to win the title, being too one-dimensional, and while Tszyu (140) had to be careful that he did not get caught the Ghanaian was an easy target.
Diosbelys Hurtado lost the WBA ‘second tier’ title to Vivian Harris when he was stopped in the second round of their contest at Reliant Park, Houston, Texas on 19 October.
19 January 2002. DeMarcus Corley w pts 12 Ener Julio.
Venue: Jai-Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jorge Alonso.
Scorecards: 119-105, 118-107, 117-107.
Fight Summary: Corley (140) started well when knocking his challenger down in the second and third rounds, but on both occasions he failed to finish the job when standing off to admire his work. Although Julio (140) had a five-inch advantage in height, unable to use it as he did not have the hand-speed to match, the southpaw champion continually beat him to the punch. In the sixth the Colombian came on stronger, but after Corley sank to his knees, having been punched down, Julio stupidly hit him before he had arisen and was docked two points. Thereafter, with Corley tiring, Julio came more into it, but due to his lack of mobility he failed to do too much damage before the fight ran its course.
3 November 2001. Kostya Tszyu w rsc 2 Zab Judah.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: Looking to unify three titles, and having been outboxed by the southpaw Judah (139½) in the opening round, Tszyu (140) picked it up in the second when staying as close as he could to the IBF champion. It was the correct tactic. After nailing Judah with a right to the head Tszyu crashed in another right to put the former down heavily. Although Judah got up quickly and spoke to the referee to say he was okay all of a sudden, with his legs betraying him, he staggered across the ring before collapsing in Tszyu’s corner. Despite there being just one second remaining in the session the referee stopped the fight, leaving Tszyu the holder of three belts. Extremely upset, Judah lost his head and attacked the third man before being escorted away.
Having been awarded The Ring Championship Belt at the end of the year, with Tszyu now considered a ‘super’ champion by the WBA, Randall Bailey won the vacant ‘second tier’ title when stopping Demetrio Ceballos in the third round at the Sovereign Centre, Reading, Pennsylvania on 2 February 2002. Later, on 11 May 2002 at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bailey lost the so-called title to Diosbelys Hurtado when he was knocked out in the seventh round.
30 June 2001. DeMarcus Corley w rsc 1 Felix Flores.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: Just five days before defending against Flores, after Ener Julio forfeited his title when it was discovered that he had cataracts in both eyes Corley was drafted in to contest the vacant championship, with the winner pledged to defend against Julio following surgery. Not one to miss a golden opportunity Corley (140) went straight on the attack with stiff jabs, and before Flores (140) could even get anything off he was smashed down by a tremendous right uppercut. Although the Puerto Rican was up quickly he was forced to take the mandatory ‘eight’ count before immediately running into a southpaw left cross that dropped him again. When Flores, who somehow staggered up at ‘nine’, was allowed to continue Corley was on to him like a flash, driving in a right-left-right that sent him reeling into the ropes to leave the referee with no alternative other than to stop the contest with 11 seconds of the first round remaining.
23 June 2001. Zab Judah w rsc 3 Allan Vester.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Charles Dwyer.
Fight Summary: Although he got through the opening round unscathed, actually sending in decent combinations, it would be merely a matter of time for the limited challenger as Judah (138½) came out briskly in the second. Decked by a hard left-right Vester (138) was soon down, and while getting up he was badly punished before being dropped again. Having been saved by the bell Vester once again came under the cosh and, after Judah found a perfect southpaw right hook that smashed into the Dane’s temple and sent him to the canvas with no hope of beating the count, the referee halted the uneven contest with just two seconds of the third remaining.
23 June 2001. Kostya Tszyu w pts 12 Oktay Urkal.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC. Referee: Frank Cappuccino.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 116-113.
Fight Summary: Defending both the WBC and WBA Belts, Tszyu (139½) was expected to walk through Urkal (138½), but unfortunately for the champion the latter had not read the script. Starting how he meant to carry on, Urkal often embarrassed Tszyu with combination punches and quick counters while his awkward style made it difficult for the champion to fathom. Despite Tszyu being the harder puncher and the fresher in the closing stages, unable to pull away from the clever Urkal he had to be satisfied with a relatively close margin of points in his favour.
3 February 2001. Kostya Tszyu w rtd 7 Sharmba Mitchell.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Fight Summary: In a battle to unify two of the four main titles, the unfortunate Mitchell (139), who carried an injured left knee into the ring, was forced to retire on his stool at the end of the seventh round when the pain and lack of mobility was just too much to bear. Although being docked a point in the fourth for pushing, Tszyu (140) was three rounds ahead on the cards but had failed to put his southpaw opponent away despite having him down for unrecorded knockdowns on several occasions.
13 January 2001. Zab Judah w rsc 10 Reggie Green.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Arthur Mercante.
Fight Summary: While clearly in control the southpaw champion appeared to be doing only as much as he needed to do, and in the sixth round the 81-year-old referee, a veteran of many big fights of yesteryear, asked him to provide more action. Almost immediately Judah (138¼) began to up his work-rate, Green (139), with swellings around both eyes, being wobbled several times before he was sent crashing in the tenth by a left hook to the head. No sooner had Green got to his feet another left put him down again, whereupon the referee called a halt with 1.31 of the session left on the clock.
20 October 2000. Zab Judah w rsc 8 Hector Quiroz.
Venue: The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Dale Grable.
Fight Summary: Using his speed to good effect the southpaw champion made sure that he did not take too many unnecessary chances against the limited but dangerous Quiroz (140). After almost dropping Quiroz in the first and then being hurt himself in the second, Judah (139¼) settled down to box his way to victory before the fight was stopped at 1.56 of the eighth when the referee decided that damage to the Mexican’s right eye was too great for him to carry on.
16 September 2000. Sharmba Mitchell w pts 12 Felix Flores.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 116-113.
Fight Summary: Knocked down in the fourth by right uppercuts to the body and jaw and saved by the bell, the champion soon got back on track when peppering Flores (139½) with good combinations to add to his points total. Although Flores was always dangerous, being credited with winning the seventh and eighth, he was never able to repeat his fourth-round performance as Mitchell (139) kept his hands up from thereon in to box his way to victory.
5 August 2000. Zab Judah w rsc 4 Terron Millett.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Michael Ortega.
Fight Summary: Putting up his title against the man who forfeited it, the speedy Judah (138) got down to business immediately when sending in thudding southpaw left crosses that hurt Millett (139½) right down to his boots. Then, without warning, Judah was tagged and dropped by a solid left hook, but surprised more than badly hurt he got up to finish the opening round strongly. With Judah back in business it was Millett’s turn to be smashed to the canvas, by a left cross in the second, and although the third saw both men exploding punches there were no knockdowns. The fourth, however, was destined to be the last. There was no doubt that Judah was looking to finish it, flooring his challenger twice more before the referee called it off with 13 seconds of the session remaining.
29 July 2000. Kostya Tszyu w rsc 6 Julio Cesar Chavez.
Venue: Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bobby Ferrara.
Fight Summary: This was the fight that ended Chavez (140) as a fighter at the highest level as he vainly tried to recapture his old title from the brilliant Tszyu (139½). Apart from the third round when two judges voted for him, with Chavez beginning to take more punches than needed he was starting to look like he had run out of ideas coming into the sixth. Chavez was also punching low, but it was more to do with his timing than anything untoward. Smashed down by a big right to the head Chavez got up but was now being hit at will, and when he was dropped again, by a left-right, the referee stopped it with 1.30 of the session remaining.
22 July 2000. Ener Julio w pts 12 Randall Bailey.
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Max Parker Jnr.
Scorecards: 113-111, 114-111, 111-115.
Fight Summary: It was a strange start for the champion as he missed Julio (139¾) consistently before being knocked down by a left hook in the opening session. However, Bailey (139) had got himself back in the fight by the sixth, dropping Julio heavily from a right to the head, only for the latter to show remarkable recuperative powers when continuing to land his left lead almost at will. By the ninth, Bailey, his right eye closed, was tiring but he still found a big right to drop Julio towards the end of the session. It turned out to be Bailey’s last opportunity as the Colombian got up and carried on as if nothing had happened. Julio then came back with some venom to win the last three rounds clearly, even though he had a point deducted in the 11th for holding and hitting.
After Julio forfeited the WBO version of the title on 25 June 2001 when it was discovered that he had cataracts on both eyes immediately prior to a championship defence against Felix Flores, DeMarcus Corley was drafted in at just five days’ notice in order to find a new champion.
24 June 2000. Zab Judah w pts 12 Junior Witter.
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Roy Francis.
Scorecards: 116-112, 118-110, 118-111.
Fight Summary: Taking the fight at a week’s notice the challenger showed no sign of nerves in his first major championship battle, and at times made Judah (139¾) look quite ordinary as he made life difficult for the southpaw champion with his movement. Although Judah was constantly the aggressor he had great difficulty in getting solid shots on Witter (139¼), but while defending well the latter had to settle for being a very good loser whose time would come at a later date.
8 April 2000. Randall Bailey w rtd 6 Rocky Martinez.
Venue: Bercy Sports Palace, Paris, France. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Samuel Viruet.
Fight Summary: Most people would have expected at least a knockdown in this one, but Martinez (139½) defied all of the champion’s best efforts even though he was dominated throughout. Making a fast start, Bailey (139½) was soon pumping out left jabs as a prelude for the right to follow, but Martinez made it difficult for him despite suffering from a cut left eye and damage to his nose. And he was still in there coming up for the sixth. Having absorbed a solid right to the head that rocked him, with the cuts beginning to worsen after Martinez got back to his corner at the end of the session he was retired.
12 February 2000. Zab Judah w co 4 Jan Piet Bergman.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Fight Summary: Contesting the title forfeited by Terron Millett, Judah (138½) quickly asserted himself when dropping Bergman (138¾) twice with solid lefts in the opening round, only to be floored himself in the second when getting caught by a desperate left hook. Getting over that embarrassment, the southpaw Judah soon picked it up again with one two-fisted attack after another and in the fourth Bergman was counted out with ten seconds of the session remaining, having been floored heavily in a neutral corner.
12 February 2000. Kostya Tszyu w rsc 8 Ahmed Santos.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Cappuccino.
Fight Summary: Although failing to win a round on the cards the challenger managed to hold out until the eighth. Prior to that, Santos (139) had shown an ability to assimilate any number of right hands and left uppercuts to his head, but it was also clear that Tszyu (140) was merely biding his time. Early in the eighth Santos was finally dropped by a right uppercut, and when he got up and was blasted back down the referee halted proceedings with just 36 seconds on the clock.