Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) successfully defended his WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight Titles with a split decision victory against the English southpaw “Cool Hand” Luke Campbell (17-2, 14 KOs) at Los Angeles’ “Fabulous” Forum.
Linares dropped Campbell in the second round with a hard right hand and engaged in explosive exchanges in each round to win with scores of 115-112 and 114-113, while one judge scored the fight 115-113 for Campbell.
“I fought very well,” said Jorge Linares. “I’m happy with the fight. At the fifth round, we had some trouble but we came out on top. Trust me, I have a great connection with my team and with my trainer, so we worked hard and kept at it. I knew I had to let the dogs out. We want Mikey Garcia next.”
“No one can ever doubt my hard work,” said Luke Campbell. “Yes, I got off to a rocky start. He [Linares] caught me in the eye. A nice shot that put me on the mat. But I had to fight. I had to get focused. I didn’t think he was landing any shots whatsoever in the second half.”
Opening the international broadcast, Filipino knockout artist Romero Duno (15-1, 13 KOs) scored an eight-round unanimous decision victory against Tabasco, Mexico’s Juan Sanchez (29-13, 14 KOs) in a lightweight fight. Duno punished Sanchez to the body and head in each and every round, which earned him the victory with three scores of 78-74.
“I’m satisfied with my performance,” said Romero Duno. “Sanchez was a tough competitor, he fights clean and I respect him. I’ve learned a lot from this fight and am going to take the lessons I’ve learned onto the next.”
Azat “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan (13-2, 10 KOs), the exciting Armenian super bantamweight contender with a spectacular style, earned the vacant WBC Continental Americas Super Bantamweight Title with a unanimous decision victory against Guadalajara, Mexico’s Sergio Frias (19-8-2, 10 KOs). Although the resident of Los Angeles was cut above the left eye in the middle of the fight, Hovhannisyan won with two scores of 100-90 and one score of 98-92.
“We’re very happy to get this big belt,” said Azat Hovhannisyan. “This has been years in the making and I fought in the ring with basically one hand as I fractured my right hand. The swelling reappeared during the fight. Frias was a tough opponent, but we put in the work to get the win.”
Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez (23-1-1, 16 KOs) of La Puente, California scored a fifth-round technical knockout victory against Isao Carranza (15-10-1, 9 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico in a scheduled eight-round super featherweight fight.
“The fight went well,” said Abraham Lopez. “I wish I would’ve finished him earlier, but he was a true warrior. It was a good fight. This fight was something I wanted to do, something I was waiting for. What’s next? Whatever the company has in mind. I’ll be working on everything; win or lose you always learn something. It doesn’t stop. We’re not perfect. I know I made mistakes, but we’re going to keep working.”
In the first fight of the evening, super bantamweight prospect Rafael “El Alikin” Gramajo (9-1-1, 2 KOs) of Los Angeles scored a tough six-round unanimous victory against Pedro Melo (17-16-2, 8 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico.
“I feel good,” said Rafael Gramajo. “I feel we started off well. I’m proud of myself. I had not fought in a year, and we fought the fight that we wanted to. In boxing, there is always a punch that could catch you and hurt you, but thank God it didn’t hurt. I kept boxing and it was a good fight.”
Linares vs. Campbell was a 12-round fight for the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships, held on Saturday, September 23 at the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in Inglewood, California. The championship event was presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Matchroom Boxing, in association with Teiken Promotions. The event was sponsored by Tecate, BORN BOLD, Casa Mexico Tequila, Thor: Ragnarok and Fred Loya Insurance and was televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.