Matthysse Claims Gold, Linares Retains

Lucas Matthysse (44-3, 28 KOs) defeated Tewa Kiram (31-2-2, 17 KOs) via eighth-round knockout to win the vacant “regular” WBA Welterweight Title.

The opening round didn’t see much action, though it was noticeable how much bigger Kiram looked when compared to Matthysse. Kiram seemed to take the first, however, by utilizing the jab. Kiram was more patient in the second, and Matthysse put on the pressure, evening up the fight.

Matthysse struggled to cut off the ring and stop Kiram’s jab in the third. But by the fourth, Kiram began to tire out, and both men then began to struggle with the punches. In fact, through eight rounds, Matthysse landed just 52 out of 229, while Kiram landed 49 of 227.

The more interesting development came between rounds. After the sixth, the referee took a substance Kiram was sniffing and gave it to the California State Athletic Commission to inspect. Kiram and his corner claimed it was an herbal substance. The corner got into trouble again after the seventh, after the referee declared there was too much grease on Kiram’s face.

The ending of the fight saw Kiram knocked down twice in the eighth — once from seemingly a left hook, and then he went down after a straight jab, which ended the fight. Post-fight replay, however, made it look like the first knockdown was a jab, and the second knockdown had a bit of a wait after the jab, bringing up the thought that Kiram perhaps was looking for a way out of the fight. Matthysse suspected such when asked about it, but he had no care for it.

“I just couldn’t catch him. He was moving, and then I was finally able to connect…eventually everything worked out the way we planned.”

Matthysse called out Danny Garcia and Manny Pacquiao following the bout.

In the co-main event, Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) scored a unanimous decision win over Mercito Gesta (31-2-2, 17 KOs), retaining his WBA Lightweight Title in the process.

Gesta came out aggressively, pushing back Linares, though the champion landed a few nice shots of his own. Through two rounds, it looked like it was going to be fairly even.

But then, Linares began to take control. Through four rounds, Linares landed 45 percent of his punches, compared to Gesta’s 25. The fifth round saw Gesta pick things up a bit, though Linares remained in control. The two had a nice exchange at the end of the round.

The sixth round saw Gesta make Linares eat leather after he dropped his hands. In fact, this fight was filled with taunting, as Gesta smiled at Linares after eating shots and Linares took a moment in the ninth to run in place.

Gesta picked up the pace a bit and cut Linares in the eighth, but the champion seemed to remain the quicker fighter. Gesta, however, slowed down again and Linares was able to cruise his way through the later rounds.

The judges ruled the bout in Linares’ favor, 118-110, 118-110, 117-111.

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