Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Santa Cruz reclaims world title

‘REVENGE’:The Mexican handed Carl Frampton the first loss of his career, while Mikey Garcia won his third world title by knocking out champion Dejan Zlaticanin


Leo Santa Cruz, right, lands a punch on Carl Frampton in the 10th round of their World Boxing Association featherweight world title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Leo Santa Cruz reclaimed the World Boxing Association featherweight world title on Saturday, handing Carl Frampton the first defeat of his career and avenging his loss to the Northern Ireland star last year.

In an explosive rematch that lived up to their bruising encounter in July last year, it was Santa Cruz who this time emerged with a majority decision, with two judges scoring it 115-113 for the US-based Mexican, while the third scored it a draw at 114-114.

“I wanted revenge,” said Santa Cruz, whose loss to Frampton last year was his first defeat. “I did what I had to do. I knew it was going to be another tough fight and like I said, let’s make it a third fight.”

Santa Cruz improved to 33-1 with one drawn, while Frampton fell to 23-1.

Although Frampton landed plenty of telling blows in a fight filled with frenetic exchanges, he was repeatedly pushed out of position by Santa Cruz’s effective jab.

After a strong 11th round, Santa Cruz withstood a desperate attack from Frampton in the final round.

“He was very clever. He used his reach,” Frampton said. “I think he deserved it. I’m being honest. I think he deserved it, but it was a very good fight. No excuses.”

On the same card, Mikey Garcia of the US won his third world title with a ruthless third-round knockout of World Boxing Council lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin of Montenegro.

A right upper-cut followed by a monstrous overhand right from Garcia knocked Zlaticanin out cold at 2 minutes, 21 seconds of the third round.

Garcia’s in-ring celebrations gradually turned to expressions of concern as medical personnel worked for several minutes to revive Zlaticanin, who endured his first defeat in 23 fights.

“I’m glad my opponent is OK. We never wish that anything bad happens in the sport,” said Garcia, a former featherweight and super featherweight titlist who improved to 36-0 with 30 knockouts.

Garcia had used an effective jab to control the bout from the first round.

“I think it was a great performance,” he said. “I fought smart. I kept the distance, I controlled the range. The left hand was key to keep him at that distance that best suited me and follow through with that right hand. We were able to connect, hurt him and put the end to the night.”

A third scheduled world title fight on the card between International Boxing Federation featherweight world champion Lee Selby of Wales and former world champion Jonathan Victor Barros was canceled due to Barros health issues.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission said it declined to issue Barros a license and ESPN reported he had tested positive for hepatitis.

Selby, who had said in the buildup to the bout that his dream was to fight in Las Vegas, was gutted at the weigh-in on Friday.

“I’m almost in tears, but I’m too dehydrated to cry,” Selby said.

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