Lightweight World Championship Fights & Title Claims

Full lightweight fight details from 1877 to September 2016 (plus junior feather, feather, and junior light) are available in a definitive companion book:

  • For United States click HERE

  • For United Kingdom click HERE

  • For Germany click HERE

  • For Japan click HERE

Full Fight Details from 2000 Onwards:

 

25 August 2018. Jose Pedraza w pts 12 Raymundo Beltran.

Venue: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Scorecards: 115-112, 117-110, 117-110.

28 July 2018. Mikey Garcia w pts 12 Robert Easter.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 118-109, 117-110, 116-111.

12 May 2018. Vasyl Lomachenko w rsc 10 Jorge Linares.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Mahattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA/The Ring. Referee: Ricky Gonzalez.

16 February 2018. Raymundo Beltran w pts 12 Paulus Moses. 

Venue: Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, Reno, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 117-111.

27 January 2018. Jorge Linares w pts 12 Mercito Gesta.

Venue: Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBA/The Ring. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 117-111.

23 September 2017. Jorge Linares w pts 12 Luke Campbell.

Venue: Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBA/The Ring. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 115-112, 114-113, 113-115.

30 June 2017. Robert Easter w pts 12 Denis Shafikov.

Venue: Huntington Centre, Toledo, Ohio, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Shawn Clark.

Scorecards: 116-112, 120-108, 120-108.

On 20 January 2018, at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA, Easter outpointed Javier Fortuna (136½) over 12 rounds of contest that was meant to involve the IBF title, but failed to do so after the latter failed to make the weight.

8 April 2017. Terry Flanagan w pts 12 Petr Petrov.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Marcus McDonnell.

Scorecards: 116-112, 120-108, 118-110.

Flanagan relinquished the WBO title on 27 October after deciding to move up in weight.

25 March 2017. Jorge Linares w pts 12 Anthony Crolla.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA/The Ring. Referee: Howard Foster.

Scorecards: 118/109, 118-109, 118-109.

10 February 2017. Robert Easter w pts 10 Luis Cruz.

Venue: Huntington Centre, Toledo, Ohio, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Lonnie Scott.

Scorecards: 119-106, 118-107, 117-108.

28 January 2017. Mikey Garcia w co 3 Dejan Zlaticanin.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Weeks.

26 November 2016. Terry Flanagan w rsc 8 Orlando Cruz.

Venue: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Gray.

24 September 2016. Jorge Linares w pts 12 Anthony Crolla.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA/The Ring. Referee: Terry O'Connor.

Scorecards: 115-114, 115-113, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Recognised as a fight for the purists, Crolla (134¼) lost his WBA title to Linares (134¼), a former three-weight world title holder, in a fight that was always going to be a close battle between quality practitioners. There was never that much in it, but Linares seemed to be one step ahead when landing the better shots and conserving his energy. Having looked like he might have been getting on top, Crolla was forced to use all of his ringcraft to get through the sixth after being dazed by a crashing right to the chin. Not only did Crolla come back strong, but had he won the final session he would have retained his title. With both men rated inside the weight division's top three, The Ring Championship Belt was also on the line.

9 September 2016. Robert Easter w pts 12 Richard Commey.

Venue: Santander Arena, Reading Pennsylvania, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Benjy Esteves.

Scorecards: 114-113, 115-112, 113-114.

Fight Summary: Battling for the title vacated by Rances Barthelemy, and a match-up of undefeated fighters, it was Easter (134½) who prevailed in a very close contest that could have gone either way. Both had their moments in an all-action affair, and both consistently landed heavily. The only knockdown came in the eighth when Easter was adjudged to have touched the floor after taking a big right to the head. Post-fight replays later showed that he had not touched down. Although Commey (135) was still throwing solid blows there was more urgency in Easter's work from this point on and by winning the last two rounds on the cards he just about got there. How Commey remained upright from a crashing right to the jaw in the 12th was a miracle, but it summed up the fight.

16 July 2016. Terry Flanagan w pts 12 Mzonke Fana.

Venue: Welsh Ice Arena, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Gray.

Scorecards: 120-106, 120-106, 120-106.

Fight Summary: Although expected to have an easy time of it the southpaw champion was made to work for his shut-out points win over the 42-year-old Fana (134), a former junior lightweight champion who bobbed and weaved his way through the contest. It was clear from the start that Fana was going to make life difficult for Flanagan (134¾), who missed with a whole range of blows as he looked to put the South African away. Even after Flanagan floored Fana in the fourth with a left hook the latter came back at him. Hurt in the eighth by an uppercut Fana still managed to hang on, but in the 12th he was in trouble when dropped by a left-right combination. There was no way Fana was going to stay down after coming this far, and showing great fortitude he clambered to his feet to make it to the final bell.

11 June 2016. Dejan Zlaticanin w rsc 3 Franklin Mamani.

Venue: Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Charlie Fitch.

Fight Summary: Billed for the vacant title after Linares was given 'champion in recess’ status, it was the southpaw from Montenegro who took advantage of the situation when stopping Mamani (133½), a late substitute for Emiliano Marsili, after 54 seconds of the third. On top from the opening bell, Zlaticanin (134) was relentless, rocking his rival with solid lefts and rights before jumping on him in the third. Sent to the floor for what the referee ruled a slip, on getting up Mamani was almost immediately caught by a crunching left to the body that was followed up by two head shots that had him over again. With the third man not even bothering to count the fight was over.

3 June 2016. Rances Barthelemy w pts 12 Mickey Bey.

Venue: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Samuel Burgos.

Scorecards: 117-110, 116-111, 110-117.

Fight Summary: Being counted upon in the second round after being head-butted on the temple by Bey (134¼) was not the best of starts for the champion, but he got up to take control and retain his title by a split decision. How one of the judges gave Bey nine rounds did not make sense. Although Bey had landed several right hands, in the main he was outworked by Barthelemy, who forced the former champion to fight at his pace throughout and was good value for his victory, with accurate punches from both hands winning the day for him.

 

Barthelemy relinquished the IBF title on 6 June after deciding to move up in weight.

7 May 2016. Anthony Crolla w co 7 Ismael Barroso.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Howard Foster.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence against the hard-hitting Barroso (134¼), a southpaw who had eliminated Kevin Mitchell from list of challengers, Crolla (134½) found it hard going when dropping the opening four rounds on the cards. Despite that, Crolla had showed signs in the fourth that he was prepared to trade with Barroso, especially with body shots. In the fifth things started to go Crolla's way as he caught Barroso with solid blows to head and body, and in the sixth it was much of the same as the latter visibly weakened. Having gone down in the sixth for what was determined to be a push, Barroso was all at sea in the seventh, and when he was sent to the boards by a left hook to the ribs he was counted out on the 1.31 mark.

12 March 2016. Terry Flanagan w pts 12 Derry Mathews.

Venue: Echo Arena, Liverpool, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Phil Edwards.

Scorecards: 115-112, 117-110, 117-110.

Fight Summary: Frustrating the southpaw champion early on despite being badly hurt by a body shot in the third, Mathews (134¼) grimly stayed put and was always fighting back. By the fifth, however, Flanagan (135) was in control but could never relax, and in the eighth he was deducted a point for delivering a forearm smash. Despite that, and the fact that Mathews stayed with him, Flanagan moved on apace, winning the last four sessions when banging out left hands and hard rights. Expected to come with a rush, Mathews, who was unable to find a winning punch, finished with a swollen left eye and plenty of kudos.

18 December 2015. Rances Barthelemy w pts 12 Denis Shafikov.

Venue: Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 119-109, 116-112, 116-112.

Fight Summary: Looking to land the title that had been vacated by Mickey Bey, it was the switch-hitting Barthelemy (134¼) who came home with the bacon when outscoring his southpaw opponent by a fair margin to become a two-weight world champion. Having started well with the jab finding Shafikov (134¼) on a regular basis, the former undefeated IBF junior lightweight title holder was right up against it in the sixth when being forced to mix it at close quarters. The fight turned again in the seventh when Shafikov was badly cut over the right eye from what was deemed to be a punch, and in the next session as Barthelemy targeted the damage the Russian faltered. Although Shafikov remained competitive, Barthelemy continued to land some hefty lefts and rights through to the final bell, the cards showing him to have won five of the last six sessions.

21 November 2015. Anthony Crolla w co 5 Darleys Perez.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Terry O'Connor.

Fight Summary: Getting his chance to put things right, Crolla (134½) quickly got down to work with the jab snapping out before the champion fought back to take the third with some specials of his own. In the fourth, however, it was Perez (134) who was on the receiving end of some good shots to both head and body. Picking up where he left off, Crolla moved up a gear with solid blows hurting Perez before a bunch of combinations finished off by a cracking left to the body saw the latter counted out at 2.30 of the fifth.

 

Ismael Barroso won the vacant WBA 'interim' title when he stopped Kevin Mitchell in the fifth round of their contest at the O2 Arena, Greenwich, London, England on 12 December.

10 October 2015. Terry Flanagan w rsc 2 Diego Magdaleno.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Terry O'Connor.

Fight Summary: Defending his newly won honours with gusto, Flanagan (135) gave his fellow southpaw opponent little time to settle before dropping him in the second with a countering right hook to the head. Magdaleno (134¾) had already slipped over twice, but this time it was legitimate. Although getting to his feet, Magdaleno was immediately under pressure before being decked twice more. Even though Magdaleno convinced the referee that all was okay it obviously was not and almost out on his feet with punches raining in on him the referee finally called the fight off on the 2.38 mark.

10 October 2015. Jorge Linares w co 4 Ivan Cano.

Venue: The Polyhedron, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Len Koivisto.

Fight Summary: Starting as he meant to carry on, the champion outclassed Cano (134½), beating him for speed, skill and accuracy. At this stage of the fight there was no doubting that Linares (133¾) held all the aces, and he hurt the Mexican with combination punches before dropping him in the third following a couple of solid body shots. Targeting the body, Linares immediately went on the attack in the fourth, flooring the outgunned Cano again with a cracking left to the short rib and enforcing a count out after 58 seconds of the session had ensued.

 

Linares was given 'champion in recess' status on 7 June 2016 after he had been put out of action for several months due to a fractured right hand suffered in training and would be unable to meet the mandatory challenger, Dejan Zlaticanin. This then allowed the WBA to upgrade a contest between Zlaticanin and Franklin Mamani for the full title.

18 July 2015. Darleys Perez drew 12 Anthony Crolla.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Howard Foster.

Scorecards: 114-113, 111-116, 113-113.

Fight Summary: Putting up the belt he had inherited when Richar Abril was stripped, Perez (134½) appeared lucky to have retained his title by a split draw, with one of the judges having Crolla (134½) winning eight of the rounds. Perez had also forfeited two points for going low in the 11th and 12th. There had been no knockdowns, but Crolla, who had recovered from a fractured skull and broken ankle suffered just seven months earlier, set the pace and produced the better quality. He also landed the best punch of the fight, a hard right to the head that shook Perez up in the second.

11 July 2015. Terry Flanagan w rtd 2 Jose Zepeda.

Venue: The Velodrome, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Marcus McDonnell.

Fight Summary: Contested for the title vacated by Terence Crawford, after a feeling-out opening round it was Flanagan (135) who won, the switch-hitting Zepeda (134½) being retired on his stool having dislocated his shoulder in the second. It was too early in the fight to know what might have happened had Zepeda remained fit, but the Manchester southpaw had an air of expectancy about him and was certainly not overawed by the occasion.

30 May 2015. Jorge Linares w rsc 10 Kevin Mitchell.

Venue: 02 Arena, Greenwich, London, England. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Victor Loughlin.

Fight Summary: Not at all apprehensive about the champion's reputation, Mitchell (134¼) started strongly, throwing in left hooks and left jabs before moving back out of range from many of the solid right-hand shots coming in from Linares (134¼). Despite a clash of heads in the fourth leaving Mitchell nursing a cut left eye, in the fifth a big right-left had Linares down. Once back on his feet, Linares was soon firing punches in, only to be met by those coming from Mitchell as the pair went for it. In the seventh and eighth both men were crashing in blows, but it was Mitchell who came off worse, his nose damaged and his left eye streaming blood. Having matched each other in the ninth, Linares somehow found the extra needed to batter away at Mitchell in the tenth, closing the latter's eye before dropping him heavily. Although Mitchell wearily made his way up the referee stopped the contest with three seconds of the session remaining. It had been a brutal struggle, with the brave Mitchell ahead on two of the cards and level on the other at the finish.

30 December 2014. Jorge Linares w co 4 Javier Prieto.

Venue: Metropolitan Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hernan Guajardo.

Fight Summary: Fighting to decide the vacant title after Omar Figueroa handed back the belt, Linares (134¾) took control from the opening bell when faced by the dangerous Prieto (134½), a man with a punch in either hand. Avoiding the hard swings coming in from Prieto, the clever Linares moved well while picking his counters with precision. Although Prieto hurt Linares in the third he was unable to find a finisher, and in the fourth he caved in when a left and a right to the ear sent him to the floor almost in slow motion to be counted out on the 1.50 mark. By his victory Linares became a three-weight world champion, having previously been an undefeated WBC featherweight champion and a WBA lightweight title holder.

29 November 2014. Terence Crawford w pts 12 Raymundo Beltran.

Venue: Century Link Centre, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Scorecards: 119-109, 120-108, 119-109.

Fight Summary: In a contest for the vacant 'Ring' title, the WBO champion, Crawford (135), won virtually every round when dominating Beltran (134¾) with his fast hands and footwork leading the way. It was not that Beltran fought below his normal form as on occasion he landed solidly and used the ring well, but he was up against a switch-hitting stylist who knew his every move. Ending the fight with a badly swollen cheek, Beltran praised Crawford's timing and counter-punching skills as being too much for him to handle.

 

While still retaining Ring championship status at 135lbs, Crawford handed in his WBO Championship Belt on 24 March 2015 in order to move up to 140lbs and challenge for the vacant WBO title at that weight on 18 April 2015. He eventually handed in the Ring Championship Belt on 24 March 2015.

 

Beltran contested the vacant WBO title with Takahiro Ao, winning by a second-round stoppage at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, USA on 1 May 2015, but because he failed to make the weight the championship remained open. The stoppage win for Beltran was later overturned due to doping.

20 September 2014. Richar Abril w pts 12 Edis Tatli.

Venue: Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Although Abril (134¾) made a reasonable start he was unable to convince one of the judges that he was in control of his wild, swinging challenger throughout. While the crude Tatli (134¾) was always dangerous it was only in the sixth that he got home with some solid shots, most of his efforts missing the target throughout. Without a jab to his name, Tatli was consistently tied up at close quarters by the smart Abril, who also showed much skill when leaning backwards to let the punches miss. By concentrating on the head, Tatli threw away targeting the body which was probably his best chance of winning.

 

On 24 October, Darleys Perez retained the WBA 'interim' title when knocking out Jaider Parra inside six rounds at the Northern University Cultural & Sports Coliseum. He made another successful defence when outpointing Jonathan Maicelo over 12 rounds at the Chumash Casino, Santa Ynez, California, USA on 9 January 2015.

 

Following Abril's withdrawal from a twice scheduled defence against Derry Mathews, Perez was upgraded to full championship status on 9 April 2015, while the former would now be recognised as a 'champion in recess'. Meanwhile, Mathews won the vacant WBA 'interim' title when outpointing Tony Luis over 12 rounds at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, England on 18 April 2015, prior to handing back his belt on 24 November 2015 after agreeing to meet Terry Flanagan for the latter's WBO title.

13 September 2014. Mickey Bey w pts 12 Miguel Vazquez.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Scorecards: 119-109, 115-113, 113-115.

Fight Summary: In what was an extremely difficult fight to score due to large amounts of inactivity, both men being guilty, the result was turned on its head when one of the judges had Bey (134½) winning 11 rounds, whereas the other two had two points in it for either man. There was little to write home about, with the contest spoiled by too much clinching and too few punches. Bey, who'd had four fights since returning from a suspension in 2012 after it was discovered that he had very high levels of testosterone, appeared to do enough in the last five sessions. However, it was too close to call with only 170 punches landing according to CompuBox. The champion, Vazquez (135), who lost his title in his seventh defence, called for an immediate rematch without much interest being shown.

 

Bey relinquished the IBF title on 26 June 2015 rather than being forced to make his first defence against Denis Shafikov in Macao, China.

16 August 2014. Omar Figueroa w rsc 9 Daniel Estrada.

Venue: StubHub Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Fight Summary: Despite having difficulty in making the weight, the champion survived some heavy hits to grind Estrada (134½) to defeat a minute into the ninth round. The taller man, Estrada had used the jab effectively in the early rounds before Figueroa (135) cut the distance down and began to drive him backwards with solid rights. In the third Figueroa was given time out after being caught low, but not deterred he came back strongly. By the sixth Estrada was not only being outboxed but he was swallowing shots until he too hit back hard through to the eighth, cutting Figueroa badly on the left eye in that session. It was all to play for in the ninth but, after Figueroa had dropped Estrada with a cracking right and had him in trouble, immediately he was on his feet the referee had seen enough.

 

After suffering an injury in the Estrada fight that would keep him out of action for some time, Figueroa handed back the WBC Championship Belt on 10 November. Despite saying that he would fight in future at a higher weight, the WBC handed him 'champion in recess' status.

28 June 2014. Terence Crawford w rsc 9 Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Venue: Century Link Centre, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.

Fight Summary: In a contest between technicians, Gamboa (134½) made the better start when taking the opening three sessions. That was before the switch-hitting champion woke up to the danger and got closer to Gamboa prior to putting him down in the fifth with right-left. Finally getting into his stride, Crawford (134¾) reverted to controlling Gamboa with the jab, and in the eighth it paid dividends when another heavy right-left had the latter over again. Although Gamboa was hurt again in the ninth he almost had Crawford in real difficulties following a heavy right to the head. However, when Gamboa was dropped by a solid left and then by a cracking right uppercut the referee stopped the fight at 2.53 of the session instead of picking up the count.

26 April 2014. Omar Figueroa w pts 12 Jerry Belmontes.

Venue: StubHub Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jerry Cantu.

Scorecards: 116-112, 118-110, 113-115.

Fight Summary: Making the first defence of the title he was handed after Adrien Broner had been stripped, Figueroa (134¾) overcame a slow start to outwork the crafty Belmontes (134¾), who made himself a difficult target while creating room to unload overarm rights and left hooks. Having struggled with hand problems in the recent past, the hard punching Figueroa kept busy without loading up with heavy shots, outlanding Belmontes by over 40 scoring blows. Many of the rounds were difficult to score, but it was the champion's extra work-rate that eventually won the day.

1 March 2014. Terence Crawford w pts 12 Ricky Burns.

Venue: Scottish Exhibition Centre, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 116-112.

Fight Summary: Coming back from a broken jaw, the champion found himself up against a fast moving box-fighter in Crawford (134½) who consistently found an angle for the jab and counter before moving on. Although Burns (134¼) tried his utmost to get his punches off he was being outscored round after round, but was never downhearted, always looking for a heavy shot that might win it for him. Afterwards, Burns admitted that despite Crawford being the better man on the night he would be back.

22 February 2014. Miguel Vazquez w pts 12 Denis Shafikov.

Venue: Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao, China. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ernie Sharif.

Scorecards: 119-110, 116-112, 115-113.

Fight Summary: Ahead by the fourth when boxing well behind the jab, once Vazquez (134¾) was cut over the left eye, following a clash of heads in that session, instead of backing off he stood his ground and fired back with swinging rights at his unbeaten southpaw challenger. With Shafikov (134¾) seemingly having no defence for the punch, come the seventh he was cut over the right eye and beginning to flag. Although Shafikov came back strongly in the final three sessions it was not enough to make a dent in Vazquez's lead.

7 September 2013. Ricky Burns drew 12 Raymundo Beltran.

Venue: Scottish Exhibition Centre, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Phil Edwards.

Scorecards: 115-112, 113-115, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Regardless that he suffered a broken jaw in the second, Burns (134½) bravely held on to retain his title after being awarded a split decision by the judges. He had been dropped in the eighth by a thunderous left hook that threatened to part him from his senses, before getting up at 'eight' and taking a battering for the remainder of the session and the next two for good measure. Although Burns came back strongly to take the final two rounds, there were many who thought that he had been lucky to be given a share of the verdict. For his part Beltran (134¾) demanded a rematch, but in truth had he landed more punches instead of standing back there would have been no argument. Following the announcement that Burns would be out of action for some while following surgery to rebuild his broken jaw, Beltran would have to wait for a further opportunity.

11 May 2013. Ricky Burns w rtd 9 Jose A. Gonzalez.

Venue: Emirates Arena, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Russell Mora.

Fight Summary: Out of sorts, Burns (134½) was well behind on points at the end of the seventh after Gonzalez (134½) had boxed cleverly on the back foot, stepping in with blows when he saw an opportunity, while making the champion miss more often than not. Burns had also taken a bit of a pasting in the seventh as Gonzalez let the punches go. The fight began to change in the eighth after Burns picked up the pace to take the next two sessions, and at the end of the ninth Gonzalez was pulled out of the fight by his corner who claimed that their man had injured his left wrist.

2 March 2013. Richar Abril w pts 12 Sharif Bogere.

Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Russell Mora.

Scorecards: 116-110, 115-111, 116-110.

Fight Summary: In what was Abril’s first defence of the title bestowed upon him towards the end of February, he rarely looked like a champion despite taking the unanimous decision over the wild swings of Bogere (134), who also used his head as a battering ram. With Abril (134½) holding, something for which he had a point taken away in the eighth following several warnings, and Bogere charging in it was a poor fight to watch. Bleeding from cuts over both eyes, which were caused by butts, Abril eventually picked up the pace in the latter rounds to take the eyes of the judges, while Bogere had a point deducted in the 12th for the illegal use of his head.

 

On 8 June, Yuriorkis Gamboa won the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title when outpointing Darleys Perez over 12 rounds at the Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Gamboa handed back the belt in May 2014, having been signed up to challenge Terence Crawford for the latter's WBO title.

 

Given another chance, Perez won the vacant WBA 'interim' crown when outpointing Argenis Lopez over 12 rounds at the Sheraton Hotel, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on 28 June 2014.

16 February 2013. Adrien Broner w rsc 5 Gavin Rees.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Earl Brown.

Fight Summary: Although he made a reasonable start, hitting back when under pressure, by the third the game Rees (134½) was already being driven back as the champion began to go through the gears. Dropped in the fourth by a solid right uppercut, Rees was cheered for his for his never-say-die spirit, but the writing was on the wall as Broner (134) let the punches go. Having been floored by a body shot in the fifth and being hammered around the ring it was no surprise when the referee rescued Rees with one second of the session remaining after the latter's corner threw the towel in.

 

Omar Figueroa won the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title when outpointing Nihito Arakawa over 12 rounds at the AT & T Centre, San Antonio, Texas on 27 July.

 

After Broner stepped up to win the WBA welterweight title from Paul Malignaggi (w pts 12 at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York) on 22 June 1913 before losing it to Marcos Maidana (l pts 12 at the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas) on 14 December 2013 he made no further defences of his lightweight title before being stripped by the WBC on 27 January 2014 for failing to make a defence within the requisite time frame.

 

Further to that edict, Figueroa was given full championship status.

8 December 2012. Miguel Vazquez w pts 12 Mercito Gesta.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Robert Byrd.

Scorecards: 117-111, 119-109, 118-110.

Fight Summary: A disappointing fight saw the inexperienced southpaw challenger unable to get close enough to the taller Vazquez (135) to do too much damage, being comprehensively outboxed in virtually every round bar the ninth and tenth. At least Gesta (134) gave it a go in the latter stages, but more often than not was on the end of the jab as he followed the champion around, fearing the counter.

17 November 2012. Adrien Broner w rsc 8 Antonio DeMarco.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.

Fight Summary: Apart from the opening session the southpaw champion rarely had a look in as Broner (134½) ran the show, jabs, uppercuts and hooks all finding their mark time and again. Badly outboxed in the fifth and hurt by a cracking body shot in the sixth, DeMarco (134½) somehow made his way into the eighth, a round in which he was dropped heavily following a right to the body and a left uppercut to the jaw. Although DeMarco's corner threw the towel into the ring the referee continued with the mandatory 'eight' count before calling the fight off. With DeMarco clearly unable to box on it was the right decision, the finish being timed at 1.49 of the session. Broner had come to the ring as the former undefeated WBO junior lightweight champion.

27 October 2012. Miguel Vazquez w pts 12 Marvin Quintero.

Venue: Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Charlie Fitch.

Scorecards: 118-110, 116-112, 113-115.

Fight Summary: Decidedly not at his best, Vazquez (135) eventually gained a split decision win over his southpaw challenger, who gave him all manner of problems. For his part, Vazquez relied mainly on his accurate jab and good movement to combat the tough body-punching Quintero (133¾), his speed and agility making it difficult for the latter to get to grips with him. Although one of the judges had Quintero winning, the other two recognised that the better quality work came from Vazquez.

22 September 2012. Ricky Burns w rsc 4 Kevin Mitchell.

Venue: Scottish Exhibition Centre, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Terry O’Connor.

Fight Summary: Producing a tip-top start, the two-weight champion went punch-for-punch with Mitchell (135) in the opener before getting on top of the latter in the second. Not wasting a punch, Burns (135) continued to pick up the pace with his left hook and right cross working well. With Mitchell still looking to get into the fight in the fourth, he was downed by a cracking left hook. Not one to hang about, the moment Mitchell was on his feet Burns swarmed all over him with both hands banging away before the referee called it off with just one second of the session remaining.

8 September 2012. Antonio DeMarco w rsc 1 John Molina.

Venue: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Fight Summary: Starting as he meant to carry on, the southpaw champion quickly caught up with the unfortunate Molina (134½), landing a solid straight left that had him stumbling against the ropes. Instead of taking a standing count that would have given him breathing space, Molina was left almost sitting on the bottom strand after DeMarco (134¼) pounded away with both hands until the referee stepped in just 44 seconds into the fight.

17 March 2012. Antonio DeMarco w co 5 Miguel Roman.

Venue: Centennial Sports Complex, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurentino Ramirez.

Fight Summary: Up against a former featherweight title challenger in the much smaller Roman (133¼), the southpaw champion started strongly before dropping the third as his rival busied himself. Boxing on the back foot suited DeMarco (134¾), who was able to pick Roman off with the jab, and in the fifth it was a left uppercut-left hook that dropped the latter for the full count. Desperately trying to make it up in time, Roman got to his feet just as the count was being completed on the 2.59 mark.

10 March 2012. Ricky Burns w pts 12 Paulus Moses.

Venue: Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Scorecards: 117-111, 120-110, 119-110.

Fight Summary: Defending the title that was handed to him after Juan Manuel Marquez was stripped, Burns (134½) won handily even though he was made to work hard by the 33-year-old Moses (133¼). Whether it was boxing or fighting, Burns was Moses' master. Dictating from the centre of the ring, Burns' jab continually found its mark, while his work to the body slowed Moses down. The Namibian was always dangerous when fighting in short bursts, but the only time that Burns was hurt came after taking a solid right to the jaw in the sixth. However, showing a sound chin he was soon back in charge.

21 January 2012. Miguel Vazquez w pts 12 Ammeth Diaz.

Venue: Olympic Coliseum, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: David Fields.

Scorecards: 120-107, 119-108, 120-107.

Fight Summary: Making his third title defence, and following several postponements, Vazquez (135) was in control from the opening bell, his defence being too difficult for Diaz (135) to pierce and his ability too much to handle. After being dropped in the sixth there was no way back for Diaz, who received a boxing lesson for his pains. According to reports, none of the rounds were close and Vazquez was never troubled.

15 October 2011. Antonio DeMarco w rsc 11 Jorge Linares.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Humberto Soto handed in his belt on moving up in weight, DeMarco (134½) stopped the former two-weight champion, Linares (134¾), after being way behind on points. Having got off to a great start when taking the opening five rounds, when Linares was badly cut on the bridge of his nose he was forced to fight even harder, fearing the contest could be stopped. However, after suffering a bad couple of rounds Linares boxed superbly to extend his lead, his hand-speed coupled to accurate punches taking the play away from his southpaw opponent. Suddenly, in the 11th, Linares seemed to unravel after he had been hurt by a series of heavy blows, and when a cracking right-left from DeMarco sent him into the ropes the referee called it off at 2.32 of the session.

25 June 2011. Humberto Soto w tdec 11 Motoki Sasaki.

Venue: Andreas Park, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Gentile.

Scorecards: 109-98, 109-98, 110-97.

Fight Summary: Right from the start this contest became a war of attrition, the champion showing better skills and hand-speed while Sasaki (134½) tried to blast his way to the title when throwing wild swinging punches. Although Sasaki continually tried to involve Soto (134½) in a dust up, the latter merely picked his moments to counter with heavy shots to head and body. In the fifth Soto floored Sasaki with solid left hooks to body and head after a flurry of blows had set the latter up. As the fight progressed the action got more and more frenetic, Sasaki being docked a point in the tenth for a head butt before charging at speed into Soto in the 11th and knocking him to the floor. With Soto unable to continue the referee called for the cards, which showed the Mexican to be a clear winner.

 

After Soto relinquished the WBC title on 1 July in order to box at a higher weight, Antonio DeMarco and Jorge Linares were signed up to find a new champion.

12 March 2011. Miguel Vazquez w pts 12 Leonardo Zappavigna.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Scorecards: 118-110, 117-111, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Relatively competitive until the halfway stage, it was then that the champion's class showed through as he began to control the tough Zappavigna (135). With his better skills and reach advantage, Vazquez (135) proceeded to take the last six sessions as Zappavigna tired. Already cut over his right eye, Zappavigna was almost taken apart in the tenth when his left eye was badly damaged. He was then forced to suffer a bombardment of heavy blows to head and body before making it to the final bell, bloody but unbowed.

4 December 2010. Humberto Soto w pts 12 Urbano Antillon.
Venue:
Honda Centre, Anaheim, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ray Corona. 
Scorecards: 115-112, 114-113, 114-113. 
Fight Summary: Although Soto (134¾) retained his title, had Antillon (135) not fought such a dirty fight the result could have well been different. Having butted his man in the first prior to throwing him to the floor and then going low, Antillon was treated mildly before eventually incurring a point deduction in the fifth. Both men did plenty of good work to the body, Soto being hurt in the ninth, but it was his boxing skill and heavier punch that showed through. With Antillon suffering a bad cut on the right eye and appearing to be on the verge of a stoppage defeat in the tenth, Soto failed to finish the job before dropping the last two sessions and holding on for the win.
 

27 November 2010. Miguel Vazquez w pts 12 Ricardo Dominguez.

Venue: Municipal Auditorium, Tijuana, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Hedgpeth.

Scorecards: 118-110, 120-108, 119-109.

Fight Summary: In what was his first defence, Vazquez (135) dropped one round at most on his way to a wide points win over Dominguez (135). Despite being dominated Dominguez was nearly always trying to make a fight of it, but found himself either being held at bay with the jab or unable to find a way through Vazquez's clever defences. Having taken stock, it was clear that Vazquez would need stiffer opposition in the future.

27 November 2010. Juan Manuel Marquez w rsc 9 Michael Katsidis.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Fight Summary: Happy to put his three championship belts on the line, Marquez (134) ultimately had too much class and power for the tough Katsidis (135), who had shocked the champion in the third when dropping him with a left hook. Regrouping, Marquez was soon coming back at Katsidis, slamming away at the body and belting in uppercuts for good measure. Although Katsidis was carrying damage, he was still capable of getting to Marquez, especially with the left hook. However, in the ninth, with Katsidis taking a steady beating, the referee came to his aid at 2.14 of the session before more damage was done.

 

On 26 February 2011, Brandon Rios won the WBA ‘second tier’ title when stopping Miguel Acosta in the tenth round at the Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

A couple of months later, on 9 April 2011, Robert Guerrero outpointed Michael Katsidis over 12 rounds at the MGM Grand to win the vacant WBA/WBO ‘interim’ titles.

 

Making a further defence of the WBA ‘second tier’ title, Rios stopped Urbano Antillon in the third round of their contest at the Home Depot Centre, Carson, California, USA on 9 July 2011.

 

After the WBA and WBO ‘interim’ titles became vacant at the end of August 2011 when Guerrero decided to move up a weight, Richar Abril outpointed Miguel Acosta over 12 rounds at the Roberto Duran Arena, Panama City, Panama on 22 October 2011 to decide the vacant WBA version, while Ricky Burns won the WBO ‘interim’ crown when he outpointed Katsidis over 12 rounds at The Arena, Wembley, London, England on 5 November 2011. Prior to meeting Katsidis, Burns had been the undefeated WBO junior lightweight champion.

 

Rios forfeited the WBA ‘second tier’ title when coming in over the weight for a defence against John Murray at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA on 3 December 2011. The fight went ahead, but after Murray was stopped in the 11th round the 'second tier' title remained vacant.

 

Further to Marquez being stripped of his WBA title on 5 January 2012 for not meeting a mandatory challenger for more than 18 months, Burns, a former undefeated WBO junior lightweight champion, was handed the WBO crown. However, Marquez retained The Ring Championship Belt until 14 April 2012.

 

At the Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada, on 14 April 2012, in a fight billed for the vacant WBA title Rios outpointed Abril over 12 rounds, failing to become the new champion when unable to make the weight for the second fight running. Rios had originally been signed up to meet Yuriorkis Gamboa but, when the latter pulled out stating management problems as the reason, Abril took his place. Following the contest it was announced that Abril would be keeping his WBA ‘interim’ honours. Having been matched against Sharif Bogere to decide the WBA title, Abril was handed full championship status on 28 February 2013, two days before the contest was due to take place.

18 September 2010. Humberto Soto w pts 12 Fidel Monterrosa Munoz.

Venue: Golden Stadium, Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurentino Ramirez.

Scorecards: 118-109, 115-112, 115-112.

Fight Summary: Putting up his title against the limited Monterrosa Munoz (135) the champion once again took more punches than he once would have, but ultimately had too much class for the Colombian. Shaken up in the opening round by a solid right, Soto (135), who continued to be caught by the same blow on occasion, was much stronger on the inside. In the sixth Monterrosa Munoz looked tired before regrouping and keeping it together until the end. While Monterrosa Munoz was deducted a point in the ninth when going low, Soto slipped to the floor three times in the tenth, after going down earlier. Having blamed the problem on the wet canvas, once again Soto did not shine in victory.

14 August 2010. Miguel Vazquez w pts 12 Ji-Hoon Kim.

Venue: Energy Arena, Laredo, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 120-108, 119-109, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title, this fight came about after Nate Campbell was stripped and a fight between Ali Funeka and Joan Guzman on 28 November 2009 failed to find a winner. Losing one round at most, Vazquez (134¼) outboxed the tough Kim (134¼) throughout when using a long accurate left jab allied to a heavy right hand to keep the latter in his place. While the teak-tough Kim threw plenty of leather much of it missed the target, while Vazquez produced damaging blows, both up and down. Despite being cut on the right side of his head by an accidental head clash in the eighth, Vazquez merely carried on his good work until the final bell.

31 July 2010. Juan Manuel Marquez w pts 12 Juan Diaz.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 116-112, 118-110, 117-111.

Fight Summary: In a return fight the three-belt champion once again put paid to the title hopes harboured by Diaz (135), this time being forced to travel the full route. There were no knockdowns, but both men threw some heavy blows in passing. Although being shaded in virtually every round Diaz occasionally caught Marquez (133½), but apart from almost closing the latter's right eye in the seventh he was unable to build on it. By the ninth Marquez was tiring, and while Diaz came on to win the remaining sessions he did little damage prior to being on the wrong end of a unanimous decision.

15 May 2010. Humberto Soto w pts 12 Ricardo Dominguez.

Venue: Centennial Stadium, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurentino Ramirez.

Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 117-112.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence, although winning easily enough on the cards Soto (135) showed that he was not the fighter he once used to be when having some difficult moments against Dominguez (135), a man who was not expected to trouble him. Caught and stunned by a one-two in the second before fighting back, Soto continued to walk through the punches to get his own off. Dominguez showed much gameness in defeat, and although not taking more than two or three rounds on the cards showed plenty of spirit.

13 March 2010. Humberto Soto w pts 12 David Diaz.

Venue: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 117-109, 117-109, 115-111.

Fight Summary: With the vacant title up for grabs after Edwin Valero was handed the title of 'champion in recess', Soto (134¼), the WBC junior lightweight title holder, defeated the wild-punching Diaz (134). Winning handily, Soto made an excellent start when dropping his southpaw rival with a solid left hook before going on to showcase his hand-speed and skills on his way to the unanimous points decision. Badly marked up by the final session, Diaz was then put down again by another left hook immediately before the bell ended the contest. Soto relinquished his WBC junior honours five days later to concentrate on his new title.

6 February 2010. Edwin Valero w rtd 9 Antonio DeMarco.

Venue: The Arena, Monterrey, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Fight Summary: A meeting of fellow southpaws saw the champion getting down to work from the opening bell as the taller DeMarco (135), the WBC 'interim' title holder, tried to stay at range. Having been cut on the right cheek in the first, Valero (135) was then caught by an elbow in the second that left him nursing a deep gash on his forehead. Seen as an accident, DeMarco was deducted a point under WBC rules. Boxing well up until the sixth, DeMarco had managed to stay out of harm's way, but in the seventh he began to ship some heavy blows. Boxing as well as fighting Valero looked the complete article, and having taken a terrific battering in the ninth DeMarco was retired by his corner at the end of the session.

 

Due to the damage on his scalp requiring time to properly heal, on 9 February Valero was given the title of WBC ‘champion in recess’ for him to be allowed the necessary time to recover from the injury and to make a decision regarding which division he would continue his career in. Further to that, a contest between Humberto Soto and David Diaz was given the go-ahead for the title. It soon became clear that not all was well with Valero when he had to spend some time in a psychiatric hospital, but it was still shocking to hear that he had taken his own life on 19 April, having murdered his wife a day earlier.

19 December 2009. Edwin Valero w rtd 6 Hector Velazquez.

Venue: Jose Maria Vargas Sports Centre, La Guaire, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hector Afu.

Fight Summary: Getting away well, despite being cut over the left eye by head clashes in the opening session the southpaw champion powered his way to victory over the game Velazquez (134¼), who was retired at the end of the sixth. Under a great deal of pressure Velazquez showed much resilience, and even tried to turn it into a rough and tumble, but ultimately had no answer to the power of Valero (134¾). Having been hurt in virtually every round, towards the end of the sixth Velazquez was being taken apart before the bell came to his aid.

28 November 2009. Ali Funeka drew 12 Joan Guzman.

Venue: Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jean-Guy Brousseau.

Scorecards: 116-112, 114-114, 114-114.

Fight Summary: This was a contest for the title that Nate Campbell forfeited, and following the majority drawn result the title remained vacant. To most viewers it seemed that Funeka (134) had won clearly, and had he been given the final session by two of the judges he would have got his hands on the belt. Although Guzman (134½) took the opening three rounds with solid body blows leading the way, once Fukena had settled, his long jab working well, he dictated the pace of the contest. In the fourth a clash of heads saw Guzman shaken up and badly cut over his right eye, an injury that bothered him throughout. Despite Guzman fighting on gamely, he seemed to be running second best to Funeka, who appeared to have outworked him from thereon in.

 

In a rematch on 27 March 2010, Guzman outpointed Funeka over 12 rounds at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. However, with Guzman coming in at 144lbs, nine pounds over the limit, the title remained vacant. Following that, Miguel Vazquez and Ji-Hoon Kim were matched to find a new champion. Vazquez was coming off a ten-round points win over the dangerous Breidis Prescott, while Kim had beaten Ammeth Diaz (w rsc 1 at the Energy Arena, Laredo, Texas on 21 May 2010) in an official eliminator.

4 April 2009. Edwin Valero w rsc 2 Antonio Pitalua.

Venue: Frank Erwin Centre, Austin, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Fight Summary: Contesting the vacant title after Manny Pacquiao handed in his belt on moving up in weight, coming into the contest Valero (134½) had 24 quick wins from 24 fights while his opponent, Pitalua (135), was no mean puncher himself. Allowed to fight out of Texas despite failing a brain scan six years earlier the former undefeated WBA junior lightweight champion did not hang around, dropping Pitalua early in the second with right hook following a fairly quiet opener. Getting up and fighting on Pitalua was soon in more trouble, and after being floored again and on his way down for the third time the fight was halted after 49 seconds of the session.

 

At the Treasure Island Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 31 October, Antonio DeMarco stopped Jose Alfaro in the tenth round to capture the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title.

28 February 2009. Juan Manuel Marquez w rsc 9 Juan Diaz.

Venue: Toyota Centre, Houston, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

Fight Summary: With the WBA and WBO titles both vacant, Nate Campbell having forfeited the latter belt and relinquished his hold on the other, the holder of the Ring Championship Belt, Marquez (134¼), took on another former champion in Diaz (134½). In what was a tremendous fight it was Diaz who set the pace to start with, but before too long both men were mixing it up with punches going in to head and body. Despite being cut over the right eye in the fifth, Marquez was beginning to get into his stride and picking his punches better. However, it was pulsating stuff, and in the seventh it was Diaz who had to regroup. The eighth saw Diaz suffer a bad cut on the right eye, and while still fighting hard he had to put up with constant visits from the doctor. Although Diaz was still dangerous it was Marquez who turned the fight in his favour when dropping his rival in the ninth following a barrage of left-rights. After Diaz got up he was then downed heavily by a cracking right uppercut that brought about an immediate intervention by the referee at 2.40 of the session. Marquez became a world champion at three different weights on winning, having been the undefeated IBF/WBA/WBO featherweight champion and WBC junior lightweight champion.

 

On 25 July, at the Tepic Fair Stockade, Nueva Vallarta, Mexico, Miguel Acosta stopped Urbano Antillon in the ninth round to pick up the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title.

 

The same day, at the Country Club, Windhoek, Namibia, Paulus Moses retained the WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing Takehiro Shimada over 12 rounds.

 

These were followed by a vacant WBO ‘interim’ title fight between Michael Katsidis and Vicente Escobedo at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 19 September, won by the former on points over 12 rounds. Katsidis successfully defended the WBO ‘interim’ title when stopping Kevin Mitchell in the third round of their contest at Upton Park, West Ham, London, England on 15 May 2010.

 

Moses retained the WBA ‘second tier’ title when knocking out Acosta, the ‘interim’ champion, in the sixth round of their contest at the Kalahari Sands Hotel & Casino, Windhoek, Namibia on 29 May 2010.

13 September 2008. Juan Manuel Marquez w rsc 11 Joel Casamayor.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks

Fight Summary: Taking time out to size each other up the fight did not get going until Casamayor (135), the holder of the Ring Championship Belt, was cut over the right eye in the fifth. From thereon in life got difficult for the Cuban southpaw as Marquez (135) kept the punches going, up and down, with less and less coming back. Although Casamayor landed heavily at times Marquez always came back harder and faster, and although the Cuban was landing his fair share in the 11th a left and a right hook dropped him. Getting up quickly, Casamayor was an open target for a flurry of blows that were topped off by a short right to the jaw that dropped him and led to the referee calling the fight off at 2.55 of the session.

28 June 2008. Manny Pacquiao w rsc 9 David Diaz.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Fight Summary: Matched against a fellow southpaw the champion found it difficult to keep up with Pacquiao (134½), who punched away with both hands throughout the contest. In the second such was the WBC junior lightweight title holder’s domination of Diaz (135), two of the judges made it a 10-8 round as the latter desperately tried to keep up with his man. Cut on the right eye in the third, Diaz bravely stuck to his task before his left eye began show damage and left him even more exposed. Having not won a round, being under the cosh throughout, when a cracking left to the jaw smashed Diaz to the canvas in the ninth the referee immediately called the fight off. The finish was timed at 2.24. Pacquiao became a four-weight world champion on winning, being undefeated at (WBC) flyweight, (IBF) junior featherweight and (WBC) junior lightweight. He handed the last named belt back on 16 July.

 

Pacquiao handed in his WBC Championship Belt on 28 February 2009 after deciding to challenge Ricky Hatton for The Ring Championship Belt at the junior welterweight limit, and to find a new champion the WBC matched Edwin Valero against Antonio Pitalua. Valero had recently relinquished the WBC junior lightweight title, while Pitalua had beaten Jose Armando Santa Cruz (w co 6 The Coliseum, Monterrey, Mexico on 20 September) in an eliminator.

22 March 2008. Joel Casamayor w rsc 10 Michael Katsidis.

Venue: Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Cabazon, California, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Jon Schorle.

Fight Summary: In a contest that was billed for the WBO ‘interim’ title held by Katsidis (133¾), the southpaw Cuban also threw his Ring Championship Belt into the mix for good measure. Making a bad start Katsidis twice found himself on the floor in the opening session as Casamayor (134¼) let fly, a straight left and then a right-left putting him down. Fighting his way back, Katsidis hurt Casamayor badly in the fourth with lefts and rights to the head before dropping the latter with a flurry of blows in the sixth. Surprisingly, Casamayor came on strongly in the seventh as Katsidis faltered, and kept it going through to the ninth despite being deducted a point for going low in that session. With Katsidis cut and swollen around both eyes, Casamayor picked it up in the tenth when catching the oncoming Aussie with a countering left that put him on the floor. Although up at 'three', the dazed Katsidis was being battered incessantly when the referee came to his rescue with just 30 seconds of the round gone.

 

Casamayor forfeited the WBO 'interim' title in July when refusing to go through with a return match with Katsidis in favour of defending his Ring Championship Belt against Juan Manuel Marquez.

8 March 2008. Nate Campbell w pts 12 Juan Diaz.

Venue: The Bullring, Cancun, Mexico. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Jesus Salcedo.

Scorecards: 116-111, 115-112, 113-114.

Fight Summary: Having put his three championship belts on the line Diaz (134) was expected to be just too busy for the crafty Campbell (134½), but it was the latter who came home with the split decision in what was a tough fight. Diaz was ahead by the end of the fifth before a headbutt caused a bad cut on his left eye and bothered him from thereon in. Although Campbell was deducted a point he took advantage of the situation as Diaz's eye began to close. Catching Diaz with blows he could barely see coming, Campbell took over, and by the end of the contest he had done enough to have two of the judges voting for him.

 

The WBA ‘second tier’ title changed hands on 19 May when Yusuke Kobori stopped Jose Alfaro in the third round at the Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. In a defence of the WBA ‘second tier’ title on 3 January 2009, Kobori was outpointed over 12 rounds by Paulus Moses at The Pacifico, Yokohama, Japan.

 

Following concerns over a proposed mandatory defence against Moses, Campbell relinquished his WBA title on 10 January 2009. Campbell then forfeited his two remaining titles when coming in overweight for a defence against Ali Funeka at the Bank Atlanta Centre, Sunrise, Florida, USA on 14 February 2009. Although the fight went ahead, Funeka was unable to lift the two titles after losing on points over 12 rounds.

 

When the WBA announced that Juan Diaz and Juan Manuel Marquez would be contesting their ‘super’ title on 28 February 2009, it came as a surprise as it was generally thought that Moses would be upgraded. Following that, the WBO also went along with Marquez v Diaz for their title, while the IBF eventually decided that Funeka should meet Joan Guzman to find their champion.

10 November 2007. Joel Casamayor w pts 12 Jose Armando Santa Cruz.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Scorecards: 114-113, 114-113, 113-114.

Fight Summary: This was a contest in which Casamayor (134) put his Ring Championship Belt and WBC 'interim' title up for grabs after being out of the ring for 13 months. Having been dropped in the opening session Casamayor's performance was not great as he struggled to beat Santa Cruz (134¾), who gave him all kinds of problems. With Santa Cruz forcing matters every round was close, but after turning southpaw in an effort to match his opponent's stance in round six he threw away many of his advantages, being caught by countering lefts far too often. Even then the crowd were angry that Santa Cruz had not been returned the winner, in a fight which could have gone either way, as he had made it against the often negative Casamayor.

 

Casamayor was stripped of the WBC 'interim' title immediately prior to meeting Michael Katsidis for the latter's WBO 'interim' crown on 23 March 2008, instead of giving Santa Cruz a mandated rematch.

13 October 2007. Juan Diaz w rtd 8 Julio Diaz.

Venue: Sears Centre, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.

Fight Summary: In a meeting of the Diazes, it was Juan (135), the holder of the WBA and WBO titles, who came out on top of the IBF champion, Julio (135). While there were no knockdowns it was clear that Juan had the heavier artillery and work-rate. With Julio being forced to fight Juan's fight he began to switch more and more, and in the fourth after his left eye became swollen from constant jabbing he began to hit back just in order to defend himself. By the eighth Julio had tried everything he could think of to turn the fight his way, but it was to no avail. Back in his corner, his face badly swollen and bruised, Julio was pulled out of the fight by his corner just before the ninth could get underway.

 

Jose Alfaro outpointed Prawet Singwancha over 12 rounds at the Seidensticker Hall, Bielefeld, Germany on 29 December to win the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title.

4 August 2007. David Diaz w pts 12 Erik Morales.

Venue: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.

Scorecards: 114-113, 115-113, 115-112.

Fight Summary: Diaz (133¾) was making the first defence of the title that was handed to him after Joel Casamayor, who had won it from an over-the-weight Diego Corrales on 6 October 2006, had failed to make a defence before being stripped. Although the southpaw champion had Morales (135) in trouble in the opening session, he was the one who was dropped after being caught by a countering right to the jaw. By the halfway stage Morales was well ahead, but then Diaz's power and stamina took over. Coming into the 12th with the result in the balance, it was Diaz who took the fight to the once great Morales when pushing him back on his way to the win.

28 April 2007. Juan Diaz w rtd 8 Acelino Freitas.

Venue: Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBO. Referee: Mike Ortega.

Fight Summary:  With two titles up for grabs, Freitas (135), the WBO champion, was retired on his stool at the end of the eighth after the WBA title holder, Diaz (135), had hurt him badly enough in that session to convince his corner that there was nothing left in the fight for their charge. It had been fairly even up to the fifth, but that was before Freitas found that Diaz could take his best punches and hit back with a vengeance. Badly hurt in the fifth by several heavy blows to the head, although Freitas was not floored one of the judges marked it a 10-8 round. With Diaz upping his work-rate from thereon in it was all uphill for Freitas.

 

Contesting the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title, Prawet Singwancha and Jose Miguel Cotto drew over 12 rounds at the Angel Espada Coliseum, Salinas, Puerto Rico on 11 May.

 

On 21 July at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, Michael Katsidis outpointed Czar Amonsot over 12 rounds to retain his WBO ‘interim’ title.

3 February 2007. Julio Diaz w co 3 Jesus Chavez.

Venue: Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Frank Santore Jnr.

Fight Summary: Although the champion and Diaz (135) had done relatively little in the opening two rounds as they warmed to the task, not many were prepared for what happened in the next session. The third had barely started when Chavez (134¾) moved to avoid a punch only for his right leg to give way and send him crashing down to be counted out with just 22 seconds on the clock. Having started the contest as the IBF 'interim' champion, Diaz could hardly have expected such an easy night's work even though the warning signs were there after Chavez came to the ring with a brace under his right knee.

4 November 2006. Juan Diaz w pts 12 Fernando Angulo.

Venue: Chase Field Baseball Stadium, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.

Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 116-111.

Fight Summary: The champion was always going too well for the wild Angulo (134), who missed with many hard swings before being stabbed off with solid jabs. Unable to halt the tough Ecuadorian despite working the body and banging in lefts and rights to the head, Diaz (134) had to be content with a relatively wide points win without too much suffering. Docked a point in the sixth for excessive holding Angulo gradually ran out of ideas, and with his right eye closing fast over the last three sessions he showed his toughness in hanging on until the final bell.

15 July 2006. Juan Diaz w rsc 9 Randy Suico.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Fight Summary: In what was his second defence of the year, Diaz (135) dominated Suico (135) in virtually every round prior to the finish, and while the latter was always there or thereabouts and threw plenty of leather much of his work hit thin air. With Diaz going from head to body in the eighth it was clear that Suico, unable to raise his game, had nothing much left. At 2.06 of the ninth it was all over after the referee rescued Suico, who had been battered on to the ropes with nowhere to go and looking disconsolate.

29 April 2006. Acelino Freitas w pts 12 Zahir Raheem.

Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 113-115.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Diego Corrales was stripped, it was Freitas (135) who took the split decision over Raheem (135) when regaining his old belt. It was certainly not straightforward for Freitas as Raheem matched him all the way, and there were many who believed the latter had done enough. On several occasions there were stumbles that saw both men on the deck. Ultimately it was Freitas' better jab that won it for him in what was a fight best forgotten.

 

It was reported on 4 October that Freitas had retired and that Graham Earl and Michael Katsidis would be contesting the vacant title, but a few weeks later Freitas rescinded his retirement plans when announcing that he was fighting on. Following this, Katsidis met Earl for the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title at The Arena, Wembley, London, England on 17 February 2007, winning on a fifth-round retirement.

8 April 2006. Juan Diaz w pts 12 Jose Miguel Cotto.

Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Retaining his title in an extremely competitive contest regardless of what the cards showed, Diaz (135) showed that his speed of hand and foot was the major factor when securing a unanimous decision over the tough Cotto (134). Whatever Diaz threw, Cotto always came back for more as both men went head-to-head. Cotto was never out of it, but with a good defence and solid jab to match Diaz was always one step ahead of his rival.

17 September 2005. Jesus Chavez w rsc 11 Leavander Johnson.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence at the age of 35, Johnson (135) started well with the jab, but after he was cut over the right eye in the second he began to be systematically cut down by solid left hooks and rights over the top as Chavez (135) picked it up. Round after round followed the same pattern, Johnson looking exhausted by the end of the sixth as the former WBC junior lightweight title holder continued to march through him. At the end of the tenth Johnson looked completely spent, and having been blasted against the ropes without reply in the 11th he was finally rescued by the referee after 38 seconds had elapsed. Tragically, after the fight Johnson collapsed in the dressing room, and following surgery to remove a blood clot from the brain he never recovered, dying six days later.

 

With Chavez taking time out, Julio Diaz outscored Ricky Quiles over 12 rounds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida to win the IBF ‘interim’ title on 18 May 2006 before going on to meet the champion in February 2007.

17 June 2005. Leavander Johnson w rsc 7 Stefano Zoff.

Venue: Sports Palace, Milan, Italy. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Sam Williams.

Fight Summary: Contesting the title vacated by Julio Diaz, Johnson (134¼) finally became a champion when stopping Zoff (134¼) at 1.15 of the seventh round after the latter had been dropped by a combination of rights and lefts and was judged to be in no position to carry on. Prior to the finish the veteran Italian had done reasonably well, trading hooks and uppercuts with Johnson, who was reckoned to be ahead by a couple of rounds after getting through with some solid right hands.

7 May 2005. Diego Corrales w rsc 10 Jose Luis Castillo.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Fight Summary: In a battle for three belts, the WBO's Corrales (135) and Castillo (135), the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt, put on one of the most exciting fights of the generation as first one man then the other got on top as punches rained in from all angles. Both men were stunned on occasion, but both kept at it. In the fourth Castillo was cut on the left eye, while Corrales’ left eye began to close in the seventh. Still, both carried on as if there was no tomorrow. At the start of the tenth it seemed impossible that Corrales could continue for much longer, and when he was sent crashing by a left hook it looked all but over. Spitting out his gumshield brought Corrales some time, but when he was knocked over by another volley of left hooks immediately after getting up he spat out his mouthpiece again. Even though he was deducted a point, Corrales had just received an invaluable breather. This became clear when he began firing back to such an extent that it was Castillo who gave way. With Corrales now having the bit between the teeth, after firing in punch after punch on a by now defenceless Castillo, who was propped up by the ropes with his hands by his side, the referee called it off at 2.06 of the session.

 

On 8 October, at the Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, the rematch between the pair went ahead without the WBC and WBO titles being on the line after Castillo came in above the weight. Although Corrales was knocked out in the fourth round he remained the champion. Corrales eventually forfeited the WBO version in February 2006 when he decided to go for a third fight against Castillo rather than honouring his mandatory requirements, an action that saw Acelino Freitas and Zahir Raheem matched for the vacant title.

 

Meanwhile, the WBC set up a vacant ‘interim’ title fight between Jose Armando Santa Cruz and Chikashi Inada, which was won by the former on a sixth-round stoppage at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California on 20 May 2006. A few months later, Santa Cruz lost his claim to the WBC ‘interim’ title when he was stopped by David Diaz in the tenth round of a defence at the Thomas & Mack Centre on 12 August 2006.

 

Due to defend the WBC version of the title against Joel Casamayor at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on 7 October 2006, after Corrales failed to make the weight he was stripped of his crown. Despite that the fight went ahead, and on winning via a split decision over 12 rounds the former WBA junior lightweight title holder was confirmed as the new champion. At the same time Casamayor won The Ring Championship Belt.

 

Diaz, the WBC ‘interim’ champion, was given full title status on 1 February 2007 after Casamayor was stripped following the announcement that he would be meeting the WBO champion, Acelino Freitas, a fight that never happened. Still recognised by The Ring as the top man at the weight, in May Casamayor was announced as being the WBC ‘interim’ champion.

5 March 2005. Jose Luis Castillo w rsc 10 Julio Diaz.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Richard Steele.

Fight Summary: Getting away slowly, the WBC champion and Ring Championship Belt holder initially allowed the taller Diaz (134½) to take control with the jab as he looked to get inside where he could do maximum damage. Eventually, with Castillo (135) getting closer by the fourth round he was landing heavy left hooks to head and body, and when Diaz tried switching to southpaw he was met by straight rights for his pains. Unfortunately, head clashes in the fourth and eighth saw Diaz cut over both eyes. It then became desperate for him in the ninth when his left eye was virtually closed shut, especially with Castillo whacking in body punches on the blind side. Although trying to stay with Castillo in the tenth, Diaz was eventually rescued by the referee on the 2.23 mark after being dropped twice, firstly by a solid left hook and secondly when he walked into a right uppercut.

21 January 2005. Juan Diaz w rsc 9 Billy Irwin.

Venue: Reliant Centre, Houston, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Earl Morton.

Fight Summary: Swarming all over the veteran challenger from the off, sending in punches from head to body with venom, it was no surprise when Diaz (134½) dropped the Canadian with a left hook to the jaw in the second. Although Irwin (133½) beat the count he was under the cosh for the remainder of the session, and from thereon in had no defence against an opponent who never left him alone. The end was inevitable. With the by now pedestrian Irwin being battered along the ropes without reply in the ninth, his right eye closed tight, he was rescued by the referee at 1.27.

 

Due to defend against Lakva Sim in December, Diaz, who was doing a degree course in political science, was left without an opponent when the Mongolian pulled out injured two weeks before the fight was due to take place.

4 December 2004. Jose Luis Castillo w pts 12 Joel Casamayor.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 116-112, 113-115, 117-111.

Fight Summary: After controlling the first couple of rounds by making the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt miss before countering with left hands, Casamayor (135) was gradually drawn into a battle, becoming less effective as the fight progressed. By the sixth there was no doubt that Castillo (134½) was beginning to get on top, having upped the pace and attacked the body with solid rights and left hooks. Casamayor, however, was still slipping punches and countering well to make it close, especially in the ninth, but he began to fade over the final three sessions as Castillo went for broke, smashing in blows to head and body to finish like a train.

4 November 2004. Juan Diaz w pts 12 Julien Lorcy.

Venue: SBC Centre, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

Scorecards: 119-109, 118-110, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Starting like a pit bull and finishing like one, the champion never allowed the veteran Lorcy (133¾) any respite whatsoever as he came out of the blocks firing off lefts and rights to both head and body. While Lorcy had an effective ram-rod left jab it really was not enough to keep Diaz (135) at bay for any great length of time, and because he lacked the power and variety he was forced to spend the majority of each round in defensive mode. That aside the former two-time champion showed great resilience to keep going, finishing with both eyes badly swollen.

7 August 2004. Diego Corrales w rsc 10 Acelino Freitas.

Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Michael Ortega.

Fight Summary: Having dominated the majority of the first six rounds, despite being roughed up on occasion by the upright Corrales (135), the champion began to feel the power towards the end of the seventh when stung by cracking left hooks to the head. This was what Corrales had been waiting for, and after walking straight into Freitas (134½) at the start of the eighth he eventually floored his rival with a crushing right to the head. Although Freitas made it to his feet and answered the bell to start the ninth, a countering right sent him crashing again. Deducted a point for spitting his gumshield out Freitas somehow lasted out the round, but after being smashed down for the third time by a long, heavy right he was stopped at 1.24 of the tenth having got up in a groggy state. Coming to the ring as the former undefeated IBF and current WBO junior lightweight champion, Corrales relinquished the latter title within days.

17 July 2004. Juan Diaz w pts 12 Lakva Sim.

Venue: Reliant Arena, Houston, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 118-110, 116-112, 118-111.

Fight Summary: Setting a fast pace from the opening bell the challenger was soon jolting Sim (135) with solid jabs and combinations, and although the latter took everything coming his way without flinching he lacked the speed to get on top of his opponent. Occasionally, Sim would smash in blows of his own, but Diaz (134¾) merely kept busy, working away to head and body with all manner of punches that often left the Mongolian in a confused state. While some of the rounds were close, Diaz always seemed to have the edge. And despite Sim taking the seventh on the cards, when turning southpaw to nail the youngster with several good deliveries, he was unable to turn the tide.

5 June 2004. Jose Luis Castillo w pts 12 Juan Lazcano.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Scorecards: 115-113, 116-112, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Contesting the belts vacated by Floyd Mayweather Jnr, Castillo (134½) outscored Lazcano (135) at the end of 12 tough rounds. There were no knockdowns, but it was hard, with both men giving it their best shot, before the judges decided that the higher work-rate of Castillo warranted victory. Although Lazcano got in some heavy blows from either hand to take rounds five, six and seven, and showed faster hand-speed, it was the effective work on the inside by Castillo, especially over the last five sessions, that swung it for him.

13 May 2004. Julio Diaz w pts 12 Javier Jauregui.

Venue: Sports Arena, San Diego, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Quicker, slicker and much younger than the champion, Diaz (134¾) won the opening five rounds with ease as he frequently switched from orthodox to southpaw and back again, while slotting the jab in. Whenever Jauregui (134¼) landed Diaz would retaliate with more, but although occasionally shaking his rival up with left hooks the latter never looked like getting the job done early, ultimately having to settle for the points. With Diaz losing three rounds at most it was strange that one of the judges made the fight a draw, but luckily for the new champion the other two officials were on the ball.

 

Diaz handed in his belt on 1 March 2005 to challenge Jose Luis Castillo for the WBC crown, in favour of making a defence against Leavander Johnson for less money. Following that, Johnson was matched against the European champion, Stefano Zoff, in an effort to find a new champion.

10 April 2004. Lakva Sim w rsc 5 Miguel Callist.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Toby Gibson.

Fight Summary: In a contest to decide the vacant title, the right-handed Callist (135) made a good start when keeping his aggressive rival at bay with a long, accurate jab during the opener before stepping it up with heavy left uppercuts in the second. The third round saw Sim (133½) getting into the fight for the first time, rocking Callist with heavy combinations, prior to the latter taking over in the fourth when counter-punching to good effect. With Callist back in control it looked as though he would press on to victory, but the former WBA junior lightweight champion had other ideas. Coming out for the fifth in determined fashion the hard-punching Mongolian began to hurt Callist with solid combinations to head and body, and after dropping the latter and giving him no respite when back on his feet the referee called it off on the 2.20 mark.

3 January 2004. Acelino Freitas w pts 12 Artur Grigorian.

Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Eddie Cotton.

Scorecards: 116-107, 116-107, 115-108.

Fight Summary: Stepping up for his first championship fight at the lightweight limit, Freitas (135) controlled the vast majority of the action from the opening bell against the veteran southpaw champion, who had held the WBO title since 1996 and made 17 successful defences. The fight marked the end of the road for the light-punching Grigorian (134) as he was decked four times, in the fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth, before bravely finishing the contest on his feet. Although three of the knockdowns were considered to have been pushes rather than punches by many at ringside, they gave welcome relief to a man who had no answer to Freitas’ aggressive, all-action style. On winning, Freitas, who was deducted a point in the tenth for going low, became a world champion at two different weights. Freitas, a former undefeated WBA junior lightweight champion and current WBO title holder at that weight coming into the contest, relinquished the latter on 15 January.

22 November 2003. Javier Jauregui w rsc 11 Leavander Johnson.

Venue: Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.

Fight Summary: Billed for the vacant IBF title after Paul Spadafora had moved on, Jauregui (135) finally won a version of the world title in his 16th year as a professional fighter when stopping Johnson (135) after six seconds of the 11th. Up against the orthodox Johnson, Jauregui was a revelation when after being outboxed for a round or two he suddenly came back in the fifth to drop the former with a heavy left hook. From then on Johnson began to fade, but despite taking shots to the head and body he was still there at the end of the ninth. Then, having been hurt by a solid right in the tenth Jauregui smashed in one himself and Johnson was on the floor again. Somehow Johnson got up to last out the round, but it was madness to send him out for the 11th where he took a big right lead-left hook which sent him reeling and brought the referee in quickly to his rescue.

1 November 2003. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w rsc 7 Phillip Ndou.

Venue: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Frank Garza.

Fight Summary: The first round saw the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt making the running before Ndou (134½) came on strong in the second as he applied good pressure with the jab and worked the body well. In the third Mayweather (135) picked up the pace when he hurt Ndou with right hands to the head and left hooks to the body, the momentum continuing into the fourth. Despite being nailed by a cracking right hand to the jaw and being taken apart in the fifth, Ndou walked through the punches to get his own blows off before Mayweather’s fists flailed back at the end of the session. Although Ndou came through the sixth a lot had been taken out of him, and after a battery of rights to the head had put him down for the mandatory count in the seventh upon getting up he reeled into the ropes where he was stopped by the referee on the 1.08 mark.

 

Mayweather relinquished the WBC title, as well as handing back The Ring Championship Belt, when he moved up a division after defeating DeMarcus Corley (w pts 12 at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey on 22 May 2004) in a WBC junior welterweight championship eliminator, which was followed by Jose Luis Castillo and Juan Lazcano being matched to find a new champion.

17 May 2003. Paul Spadafora drew 12 Leonard Dorin.

Venue: Peterson Events Centre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: Rudy Battle.

Scorecards: 114-114, 113-115, 115-114.

Fight Summary: Battling to unify two titles, the IBF’s Spadafora (134½) finally convinced the viewing public as to his fighting qualities when he dug deep to stay in the fight against Dorin (135), the WBA champion. Despite having reach advantage on the Romanian, Spadafora was forced to fight in the trenches when being given no room to utilise the southpaw jab. There were no knockdowns but it was tough all the way, both men finishing badly cut, Spadafora over both eyes and Dorin over the right eye. Hurt badly in the third by solid right hands Spadafora came back with some of his own to even things up, the pair fighting it out with first one man having some success and then the other. Opening up with flurries of blows to further damage Dorin’s right eye, won the last round for Spadafora and gained him the draw he so richly deserved.

 

Towards the end of June, on the 27th, Spadafora relinquished the IBF title in order to fight in a higher weight division, while Dorin forfeited the WBA title on the scales on 25 October 2003 when due to defend against Miguel Callist in Bucharest, Romania. While Callist would meet Lakva Sim to decide the WBA title, the IBF selected Javier Jauregui and Leavander Johnson to meet for their championship.

19 April 2003. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Victoriano Sosa.

Venue: Selland Arena, Fresno, California, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Scorecards: 118-110, 119-109, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Fighting in mainly defensive mode the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt never allowed Sosa (134) close enough to do any real damage as he doubled up the jab and looked to counter and dig in occasional damaging blows to head and body. As the fight progressed, Sosa (134), showing good hand-speed, was always dangerous with the right, while Mayweather had to have his wits about him at all times. It was when Sosa tired that Mayweather took over, winning the last five rounds, but he could never relax against a dangerous opponent who was trying right to the end.

18 January 2003. Artur Grigorian w pts 12 Matt Zegan.

Venue: Gruga Conference Centre, Essen, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Up against a fellow southpaw, the champion was content to probe with the jab at the start as Zegan (134½) tore into him, before having to fight for his life to keep his title. Giving Grigorian (135), who lacked his normal sharpness, no room to work as he cracked in solid blows from either hand, Zegan seemed well on the way to the championship when keeping up the pace round after round. In the eighth Grigorian was cut over the left eye by an unintentional butt, and in the tenth he was cut over the right eye as Zegan made his charge for home. Then, having knocked out Grigorian’s gumshield in the 12th with a cracking left hook and forced him to slip briefly to the canvas seconds before the bell, Zegan was, not surprisingly, shocked to hear the verdict go against him.

7 December 2002. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Jose Luis Castillo.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Scorecards: 116-113, 115-113, 115-113.

Fight Summary: The return fight between the pair saw Mayweather (134), the WBC champion and holder of the Ring Championship Belt, make a reasonable start as the challenger threw plenty of leather but was inaccurate. Although Castillo (135) picked it up in the fourth and fifth rounds, sending in some good uppercuts and left hooks, he began to be outboxed as Mayweather carefully selected his punches while staying out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, Castillo, still seeking a brawl, tried to coax Mayweather into one only to be outjabbed and then outworked from round eight through to the 11th, before the latter took his foot off the pedal to cruise through the final session.

9 November 2002. Paul Spadafora w pts 12 Dennis Holbaek Pedersen.

Venue: Mountaineer Race Track & Casino, Chester, West Virginia, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Cranston Johnson.

Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Turning in yet another lacklustre performance, Spadafora (135) outscored a challenger who had not fought in 18 months and whose best days were behind him. Virtually from the start it was clear how the contest would go as Spadafora quickly got his southpaw jab going and threw the occasional left hand, while Holbaek Pedersen (134½) followed him around trying to get into range. In the fourth Holbaek Pedersen actually hurt Spadafora with a solid right hook which nearly put the latter down, but that was the closest he came to scoring an upset. It was all Spadafora after that as he cruised to another passionless victory.

14 September 2002. Artur Grigorian w pts 12 Stefano Zoff.

Venue: Volkswagen Hall, Braunschweig, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joachim Jacobsen.

Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Despite boxing below par, Grigorian (135) was adjudged to have outscored the former champion, Zoff (134¼), who took the fight to the southpaw champion and made life difficult for him with his awkward style. Although Zoff had reach advantage he was happy to stay at close quarters where Grigorian was not given the time and space to get his powerful lefts off as he looked for a stoppage win. It was undoubtedly close and difficult to score, but how one judge had Grigorian winning by ten rounds to two was unfathomable.

31 May 2002. Leonard Dorin w pts 12 Raul Horacio Balbi.

Venue: Polivalenta Hall, Bucharest, Romania. Recognition: WBA. Referee: John Coyle.

Scorecards: 118-111, 118-110, 117-112.

Fight Summary: Defending the title against the man he won it from, this time around there was no disputing the decision as Dorin (134¾) began to boss Balbi (134) when moving in behind solid, straight rights from the opening bell. By staying on top of Balbi the champion denied his opponent the room required to get his fast punches off before being given time out in the fourth after the Argentine belted him below, almost in exasperation. Again, it was tough and foul-filled, but Dorin was controlling most of the action, and in the last four rounds he made sure of victory when he ripped in solid blows from both hands, flooring Balbi in the 11th prior to finishing strongly.

20 April 2002. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Jose Luis Castillo.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 115-111, 115-111, 116-111.

Fight Summary: In what seemed to be daylight robbery to the impartial fans, Castillo (134½) was deemed to have lost his title to Mayweather (134), the WBC junior lightweight champion, after pressing throughout and firing in the greater volume of authoritative punches on the punch stats. Standing taller than his challenger, Castillo started with solid left jabs before moving in with both hands as Mayweather (134) bounded around, hitting off the back foot and pulling away in amateurish fashion. Cut over the left eye following a head clash in the second, Mayweather became even more cautious as he darted in and out with the jab, although according to the judges he had won the opening five rounds despite being under constant pressure. After landing solidly in the sixth and seventh sessions, Castillo then had a point deducted in the eighth for hitting on the break. When Mayweather also lost a point in the tenth for elbowing it looked as though Castillo was getting to him, but the American hung in desperately to see out the remainder of the contest. On winning, Mayweather was awarded the vacant Ring Championship Belt. He also relinquished the WBC junior lightweight title to remain at lightweight.

9 March 2002. Paul Spadafora w pts 12 Angel Manfredy.

Venue: Duquesne University Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ernie Sharif.

Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 115-113.

Fight Summary: As predictably as night follows day, Spadafora (135) stuck out the southpaw jab throughout, and as much as the challenger tried he could not fathom out the best way of dealing with it. Apart from two or three sessions Spadafora was in command all the way as he occasionally unleashed combinations and then ran, while Manfredy (134½), who was only aggressive in spurts, failed to cut the ring down. The final 20 seconds of the fight ended with Spadafora turning his back on Manfredy and jogging around the ring with the latter in pursuit to no avail.

5 January 2002. Leonard Dorin w pts 12 Raul Horacio Balbi.

Venue: Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

Scorecards: 115-112, 113-114, 112-115.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Balbi (134½) did not take long before opening up with left uppercuts and hooks as Dorin (134) advanced, something he did all night, but the punches did nothing to stop the latter’s forward march. While it was always closely contested, the fact that Dorin was able to get away with blatantly low blows throughout obviously had a bearing on the result, especially when Balbi weakened. The only time that Dorin, who was cut over both eyes in the fourth, was deducted a point came in the tenth, but it was after the damage had already been done. All that apart, it was a tremendous scrap, with the quick-handed Balbi smashing in blows from both hands as Dorin, throwing all manner of punches, just kept coming.

5 January 2002. Artur Grigorian w rsc 8 Rocky Martinez.

Venue: Borderland Hall, Magdeburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Paul Thomas.

Fight Summary: Outboxed by the southpaw champion, the tough Martinez (135) tried his hardest but did not have the tools required to do the job. His chances became even more limited when he was cut over the right eye early on. Ever the master boxer, Grigorian (135) kept snapping out the jab and crossing the left to win round after round, and with the cut worsening the referee pulled Martinez out at 2.15 of the eighth. Initially thought to have been premature, the stoppage saved Martinez from an unnecessary beating.

8 October 2001. Raul Horacio Balbi w pts 12 Julien Lorcy.

Venue: Port of Versailles Sports Palace, Paris, France. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

Scorecards: 115-112, 117-110, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Cut around the right eye in the third round, testament to the strong challenger’s punching power, Lorcy gamely tried to stay in the fight even when hit by solid left uppercuts thrown in clusters. There was no doubt that Lorcy (134½) was falling behind, with Balbi (134½) firing in big punches in virtually every session, and in the seventh he was dropped for ‘four’ after walking on to a smashing right. However, Lorcy was not going to give up the title lightly. Although he began to hit back with solid rights in the ninth through to the final bell, often beating Balbi to the punch, it was not enough for the judges who had him well behind at the finish.

1 July 2001. Julien Lorcy w pts 12 Takanori Hatakeyama.

Venue: Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Julio Cesar Alvarado.

Scorecards: 118-110, 117-111, 117-112.

Fight Summary: Making a confident start, Lorcy (134¼), who was looking to regain his old belt, took the opening nine rounds as he countered the aggressive Hatakeyama (135) with solid blows while covering up well to deny the latter scoring opportunities. Although Hatakeyama did all the forcing much of it was wild and even when the fight was drifting away from him he was unable to change tactics.

16 June 2001. Jose Luis Castillo w rsc 1 Seung-Ho Yuh.

Venue: Centre of Multiple Uses, Hermosillo, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.

Fight Summary: Straight into action, Castillo (134½) almost immediately dropped the unfortunate Yuh (133) with a cracking left hook to the body. He then proceeded to dump his challenger twice more before the referee called it off on the 1.53 mark.

16 June 2001. Artur Grigorian w pts 12 Aldo Rios.

Venue: Kiss Stadium, Budapest, Hungary. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Lou Moret.

Scorecards: 117-110, 117-110, 116-111.

Fight Summary: At the start both men appeared to be evenly matched, especially in technique and mobility, and many of the earlier rounds were closely contested with the cagey, but light-hitting challenger staying on the outside while the southpaw Grigorian (135) showed much patience and calmness. In the seventh, however, when Rios (133½), who had rarely presented a target, was hurt by a low blow a point was deducted from Grigorian’s tally. Although the Argentine had a good eighth round from then on Grigorian began to dominate, but after Rios tired badly and went to ground on four occasions from non-punches he was lucky to last the distance.

8 May 2001. Paul Spadafora w pts 12 Joel Perez.

Venue: IC Light Amphitheatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ernie Sharif.

Scorecards: 119-108, 120-107, 119-108.

Fight Summary: In yet another fight in which there was barely a challenge to his title, Spadafora (135) was content to send in southpaw jabs at leisure, and even when Perez (135) went down in the fourth it was more from a slip than a punch. Occasionally, Spadafora would follow the jab up with heavy lefts, but virtually one-paced he seemed content to allow the limited Perez to stay in the fight without taking any risks.

24 February 2001. Artur Grigorian w rsc 6 Angel Jose Perez.

Venue: Wandsbek Sports Hall, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Andre Van Grootenbruel.

Fight Summary:  Totally dominating from the opening bell, the southpaw champion gave Perez (135) no time to think let alone get his punches off as he jabbed the Spaniard silly and set him up for solid lefts from head to body. Perez, badly swollen around the eyes, did his best to stay intact, but after Grigorian (135) had dropped him in the sixth with a left cross he had nowhere to hide. Allowed to fight on following the ‘eight’ count, Perez, under immense pressure as Grigorian looked for the finishing blow, was rescued by the referee at 1.40 of the session after his corner threw the towel in.

17 February 2001. Takanori Hatakeyama drew 12 Rick Yoshimura.

Venue: Ryogoku Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Ken Morita.

Scorecards: 116-111, 112-115, 114-114.

Fight Summary: This was a tough defence for Hatakeyama (135), and if Yoshimura (135) had not had a point deducted for excessive holding in the ninth round he would have lost his title. With the 36-year-old Yoshimura keeping Hatakeyama at bay with an excellent jab for much of the time it was only when the champion accelerated in the ninth through to the final bell that he got himself back in contention. Why Hatakeyama did not pick it up earlier was anyone's guess but, when he did, his two-fisted attacks were too much for Yoshimura to handle.

20 January 2001. Jose Luis Castillo w rsc 6 Cesar Bazan.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Fight Summary: Starting reasonably well the lanky challenger took the opening two rounds with his left jab paving the way for right hands before Castillo (135), concentrating on the body, began to close him down in the third. Despite Bazan (134½) hurting him with rights over the top Castillo was getting closer, and in the fifth a terrific left hook dropped his fellow Mexican for ‘seven’. Back in action, Bazan blazed away to see the round out, only to be dropped heavily in the sixth by a left uppercut which followed two cracking rights to the head. Staggering up at ‘eight’ Bazan was given no time to settle, being driven around the ring until the referee stepped in to call a halt to proceedings with six seconds of the session remaining.

16 December 2000. Paul Spadafora w pts 12 Billy Irwin.

Venue: David Lawrence Convention Centre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Rick Steigerwald.

Scorecards: 116-111, 117-110, 118-109.

Fight Summary: Having made a terribly slow start Irwin (134½) then compounded his dire situation by allowing the champion to control the fight from the outside throughout when continually failing to cut the ring down. This was Spadafora (135) at his best as he doubled up on the jab and moved virtually at his own pace all night. Strangely, even when a right uppercut from Spadafora smashed into Irwin’s protector in the third the Canadian failed to gain any advantage from the situation by only taking a minute out when he could have asked for more time. It was only in the ninth that Irwin livened up a bit, but even when Spadafora was deducted a point for going low in the 11th it had become almost elementary.

25 November 2000. Artur Grigorian w pts 12 Antonio Pitalua.

Venue: Preussag Hall, Hannover, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Michael Ortega.

Scorecards: 114-112, 116-111, 115-112.

Fight Summary: Despite dictating matters through the opening five rounds with his extra speed and accurate southpaw jab, the champion was hurt by Pitalua (134) late in the sixth before coming under attack again in the seventh and being dropped by a short right in the eighth. After Grigorian (134¾) was deducted a point in the ninth for hitting behind the head, there was nothing between the two men at that stage. Then, with Pitalua throwing caution to the wind as he relentlessly charged in, Grigorian showed his extra class when measuring him with solid left-hand counters over the remaining three sessions to make sure of the verdict.

11 October 2000. Takanori Hatakeyama w co 10 Hiroyuki Sakamoto.

Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Masakazu Uchida.

Fight Summary: In a battle between fellow countrymen, the champion made a measured start before stepping it up from the second session through to the fifth as he stood toe-to-toe with Sakamoto (135), being especially effective with overarm rights. Coming back strongly in the sixth, Sakamoto began to force Hatakeyama (135) back with surging attacks before the latter used his countering skills to pick up points from the outside for the next three rounds. After what had been a thrilling affair, Hatakeyama sealed a well-deserved victory 18 seconds into the tenth when Sakamoto, who had been dropped by a great right to the jaw, was counted out.

15 September 2000. Jose Luis Castillo drew 12 Stevie Johnston.

Venue: Pepsi Arena, Denver, Colorado, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.

Scorecards: 114-114, 114-114, 114-115.

Fight Summary: Initially the result was given as a win for Johnston (135), who was trying to regain the title he had lost to Castillo (134). However, on reading the cards again when a mathematical error was discovered a draw was announced. It had been another gruelling fight between the pair, with Johnston favouring long southpaw jabs and crosses while Castillo concentrated on left hooks to the body. Johnston, who finished with a badly swollen right eye, had come into the contest knowing that his best chance lay in boxing at range, but the fact that he had slowed appreciably and that Castillo had reach on him meant him boxing at close quarters for long periods. At the end of the ninth, with Johnston flagging, it was the Mexican’s surge over the last three rounds that ultimately enabled him to retain the title.

23 June 2000. Artur Grigorian w rsc 12 Zoltan Kalocsai.

Venue: FTC Stadium, Budapest, Hungary. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Andre Van Grootenbruel.

Fight Summary: Showing great fortitude after having his teeth loosened by a second-round uppercut, the challenger took Grigorian (135) into the latter stages of the fight, even winning the odd round or two before running out of time. Making his 12th defence, Grigorian patiently controlled matters with his accurate southpaw jab and superior ability before he finally forced Kalocsai (134½) to his knees in the 12th following a burst of accurate combinations. Back on his feet Kalocsai was quickly dropped again, and seeing that his position was hopeless the referee called it off with two minutes of the contest remaining.

17 June 2000. Jose Luis Castillo w pts 12 Stevie Johnston.

Venue: Bicycle Casino, Bell Gardens, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Chuck Hassett.

Scorecards: 115-113, 116-111, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Quickly into his stride, Johnston (135) picked the challenger off with southpaw jabs before drawing him on to countering uppercuts in the opening two rounds, and this looked to be the pattern of the fight until he decided to go head-to-head in the third. A close-quarter battle certainly suited Castillo (135) more than it did Johnston, the Mexican warrior coming more and more into the reckoning as both men ripped in punches to head and body. There was no let-up in the last three sessions, two of which went to Castillo who had fought at the same pace throughout, and at the final bell both of Johnston’s eyes were almost swollen tight in what had been a war of attrition. There were no knockdowns, but it had been tough.

11 June 2000. Takanori Hatakeyama w rsc 8 Gilberto Serrano.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Armando Garcia.

Fight Summary: Although the upright champion started well behind the left jab and went on to dominate the next three rounds it was already noticeable that he was getting caught by overarm rights thrown by Hatakeyama (135) that he should have avoided. It was in the fifth that the former WBA junior lightweight title holder picked up momentum, dropping Serrano (135) with a cracking right uppercut, and despite the latter coming back reasonably well he was floored again in the seventh, this time by a right cross. With it now being just a matter of time, when Hatakeyama put Serrano down on three occasions in the eighth, the ‘three knockdowns in a round’ ruling saw the fight being stopped on the 2.30 mark.

6 May 2000. Paul Spadafora w tdec 10 Mike Griffith.

Venue: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ernie Sharif.

Scorecards: 98-92, 98-92, 95-95.

Fight Summary: A poor fight saw the southpaw champion unable to stop a makeshift opponent in Griffith (134½) before having to rely on a technical decision in order to retain his title. Coming into the contest on the back of some disappointing performances, Spadafora (135) found it difficult to find any rhythm whatsoever, and even after Griffith was cut over the right eye in the fourth round following a clash of heads he was unable to raise his game. Eventually, in the seventh, Spadafora finally spluttered into life when he smashed home solid jabs and crosses. And through to the end of the tenth it was more of the same as Griffith, despite having had a good ninth session, took a battering. When it was decided during the interval that Griffith was unable to continue, due to the extent of his worsening eye injury, the decision went to the cards under IBF regulations.

17 March 2000. Stevie Johnston w rsc 2 Julio Alvarez.

Venue: Magness Arena, Denver, Colorado, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Fight Summary: Starting to find the challenger with the southpaw jab right from the opening bell, Johnston (134½) was soon slamming in left crosses to good effect before suffering a gash over the left eye, which looked like it could curtail his progress. Although Johnston was still outpunching Alvarez (135), when the latter came out for the second he was intent on taking advantage of his good fortune. However, time was not on his side. After Johnston began firing away with both hands, having detonated a left cross-right hook on Alvarez’s jaw, with the Mexican lurching along the ropes from the effects of further solid blows the referee jumped in to his rescue. The finish was timed at 2.35 of the second.

12 March 2000. Gilberto Serrano w rsc 5 Hiroyuki Sakamoto.

Venue: Ryogoku Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Mitch Halpern.

Fight Summary: Dropped by a left-right at the start, Serrano (134½) was then put down again by a vicious left hook before coming back to cut the challenger over the left eye. Amazingly, by the second round Serrano was outjabbing Sakamoto (134½) as the latter looked to finish it, and by the end of the session Sakamoto’s right eye was badly swollen. There was no way that this one was going to last, Serrano being under immense pressure in the fourth prior to Sakamoto being pulled out by the referee a round later on the 2.27 mark when it was clear that the damage to his right eye was worsening rapidly.

3 March 2000. Paul Spadafora w pts 12 Victoriano Sosa.

Venue: Turning Stone Casino, Verona, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Robert Finocchi.

Scorecards: 115-112, 114-112, 116-111.

Fight Summary: Unable to get his jab going the southpaw champion found himself up against it as the lanky Sosa (133) set about him with jabs and crosses hitting the target barely within moments of the opening bell. It was a terrible start for Spadafora (133), but it got worse when he was twice smashed to the floor by left hooks in the third round. Still wobbly in the fourth Spadafora somehow kept in the fight, and by the fifth was actually starting to win rounds as Sosa inextricably ceased being busy. Although Sosa was still landing the heavier blows, with Spadafora outworking the Dominican from the ninth through to the final bell he was in the driving seat.

19 February 2000. Artur Grigorian w rsc 9 Sandro Casamonica.

Venue: Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Andre Van Grootenbruel.

Fight Summary: As in previous contests Grigorian (134¾) soon got his southpaw jab working, but although winning round after round he seemed unable to put his challenger away. Having been outboxed, outclassed and out of his depth it had been an uphill battle for Casamonica (134¾), who bravely kept going before telling the referee he could no longer continue after 1.48 of the ninth. Dropped in the eighth and cut over the left eye, with his right eye closing fast it was all too much for him.