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Santa Cruz wins rematch to hold onto WBA featherweight title, Crawford stops Horn

The Mexican fighter improved to 34-1-1 with 19 career knockouts by winning on all three judges scorecards.

Terrence Crawford defeats WBO Welterweight Champion Jeff Horner via KO in the Ninth round of their WBO Welterweight title fight.
Terrence Crawford defeats WBO Welterweight Champion Jeff Horner via KO in the Ninth round of their WBO Welterweight title fight.
Image: Marcel Thomas

MEXICAN BOXER LEO Santa Cruz retained his WBA belt by earning a unanimous decision victory over Abner Mares on Saturday in a rematch of a 2015 featherweight title fight.

Santa Cruz improved to 34-1-1 with 19 career knockouts by winning on all three judges scorecards, 115-113, 116-112, 117-111 at the Staples Centre arena.

“I did what I had to do to win the fight,” Santa Cruz said. “Mares is a tough fighter. Thank God I got the victory.”

Santa Cruz won despite suffering a cut over his left eye which was the result of a head butt from Mares in the eighth round. The cut bled for the remainder of the fight but didn’t appear to bother Santa Cruz much.

The pair fought once before on 29 August, 2015 as Santa Cruz also won that one but by a majority decision.

After that victory, Santa Cruz actually lost the title to Carl Frampton in July 2016, but regained it back in January 2017.

Santa Cruz said he wasn’t going to be slowed down by the cut over his eye.

“A cut is a cut. It is just blood. It wasn’t bothering my eyes. It just gives me more motivation,” he said.

Santa Cruz also said that he wants his next fight to be against Gary Russell for the WBC featherweight title.

Mares, also of Mexico, drops to 31-3-1 (15 KOs) as he pushed for a third fight between the two.

“I am sorry I came out short,” said Mares. “It is always a problem trying to get inside on him. I fought my heart out but at the end of the day I did my best.

“Let’s do a third fight.”

Meanwhile, unbeaten Terence Crawford punished Jeff Horn en route to a ninth-round technical knockout on Saturday to seize the Australian’s World Boxing Organisation welterweight world title.

America’s Crawford, the former undisputed super lightweight world title holder, outclassed the Aussie who was defending the title he won in a huge upset of Manny Pacquiao in July of last year in Brisbane.

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Horn defended the belt with a technical knockout of Gary Corcoran in December, but he was dominated by Crawford all the way at the Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Crawford, who improved to 33-0 with 24 knockouts, battered Horn for eight rounds, knocking him down in the ninth with a flurry of blows.

Horn beat the count, but Crawford unleashed another barrage and referee Robert Byrd called a halt at 2:33 of the round.

With the win Crawford claimed a world title in a third weight division.

He defeated Julius Indongo last August to become the undisputed super lightweight world champion.

A former WBO lightweight world champ, Crawford made the move up to welterweight in impressive fashion.

He won every round and was never really hurt by Horn, who fell to 18-1 with one draw and 12 knockouts.

A vocal Australian contingent among the crowd of 8,112 lustily backed Horn, but he was in trouble from the start as Crawford caught him with a hard left just seconds in.

Crawford, using his speed and his ability to switch stances to good effect, landed almost at will, Horn absorbing the punishment without finding a way to answer.

(C) AFP 2018

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