Berchelt retains WBC title against proud Miura - Saudi Gazette

Berchelt retains WBC title against proud Miura

WBC World super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt of Mexico fights against Japan's Takashi Miura (L) in their title fight in Inglewood. — AFP

LOS ANGELES — Miguel Berchelt retained his WBC world title with a unanimous decision over former champion Takashi Miura in the first defense of his super featherweight belt.

Mexico's Berchelt won almost every round and it showed on the lopsided scorecards but the unflinching Miura fought on pride and looked like he could have knocked the champion out at any moment.

"I was prepared because I knew I was facing an ex champion," said Berchelt. "He has the toughest left hand in the division. He was hitting me and hurting me sometimes. But I was always the better fighter."

The judges scored the fight 116-111, 120-109 and 119-108 for the 33-year-old Berchelt who won the title with an 11th round upset victory over Francisco Vargas in January. Japan's Miura (31-4-2, 24 KOs) was hoping to reclaim the WBC title, which he held for more than two years before losing to Vargas in 2015.

Berchelt set the tone early in the 12-round clash at the Los Angeles Forum as he dropped Miura late in the first round and rocked him with a hard punch in the fifth round that snapped the challenger's head back. Down on points heading into the sixth round, Miura went looking for the knockout and it didn't seem like a bad strategy for the Japanese dynamo, who had 24 career knockouts coming into the bout.

But Berchelt's defense was too strong and his plan to land a mixture of head and body shots allowed him to score ample points with the judges. Miura took the fight to Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) in the seventh round as the Mexican appeared to tire, pawing at him instead of landing solid blows like earlier in the bout.

Berchelt also had to deal the non-stop attack of Miura, who wouldn't yield an inch, despite taking a massive amount of punishment to the head and body. Berchelt wobbled Miura in the eighth with a left hook but he couldn't finish him off.

Miura showed he has a steel chin and still had an opportunity to win the fight heading into the 11th round but only if he could score a knockout against Berchelt, who was in excellent condition.

Asked if he was interested in a fight with the top fighter in the division, Vasyl Lomachenko, Berchelt said yes. "I beat Vargas, I beat Miura. I am ready to fight the best," he said.

On the undercard, champion Jezreel Corrales got the majority decision over Robinson Castellanos after the WBA super featherweight world title fight was stopped 31 seconds into the 10th round because of an accidental head butt. Corrales won by scores of 94-94, 94-93 and 96-92.

Eubank passes

Abraham test

In London, Chris Eubank Junior defended his International boxing Organization (IBO) world super-middleweight title with a unanimous points decision win over Arthur Abraham in London.

Eubank retained the belt he took in February with the three judges awarding him the contest 118-110, 118-110, 120-108 at the end of 12 absorbing rounds at the SSE Wembley Arena. The Brighton-born boxer, with his father, the former middleweight champion Chris Eubank in his corner, proved too much of a handful for the decade older Abraham.

The Armenian-born German manfully absorbed punch after punch from the fleeter-footed home favorite who kept up his relentless pounding until the final bell. Eubank's reward is an invitation to the inaugural $50 million (£38.4m) World boxing Super Series Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Eubank, who took his record to 25-1, paid tribute to Abraham. "He's the most durable opponent I've faced. I hit him with every punch in the book. The statement was made. I'm happy with the performance. I got to show my skills, I got to go the 12 rounds and get the experience in."

On the undercard Britain's Lee Selby defended his International boxing Federation (IBF) world featherweight belt with a unanimous points decision against Argentine challenger Jonathan Victor Barros four days after the death of his mother.

The 30-year-old Welshman — who has held the title since 2015 — emerged the winner of a gripping bout with the three judges scoring 119-108, 117-110, 117-110 after 12 rounds. Selby had been hailed as a "brave young man" by his manager Jamie Sanigar for not withdrawing after his mum Frankie passed away on Tuesday. — AFP