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  • By Miguel Maravilla at Ringside Photos By Esther

Santa Cruz Decisions Frampton in Rematch

Irish superstar Carl "The Jackal" Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) of Belfast, Ireland and Leo "El Terremoto" Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) of Lincoln Heights, California by way of Huetamo, Michoacan, Mexico met once again in a rematch Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on the Showtime Championship Boxing main event.

Starting off where they left off Santa Cruz boxed and kept his distance in the opening round as he connected Frampton with and the two exchanged wildly to close the first. Working off the jab Santa Cruz backed Frampton in round two. In the third round Santa Cruz began to stalk as Frampton boxed in and out. Santa Cruz outworked Frampton in round four as he connected with a right, at the end of the round Frampton slipped as everyone was on their feet.

Santa Cruz was on the attack in round five as Frampton began to settle boxing and countering in the closing seconds Santa Cruz closed strong by backing the Irish fighter to the ropes. The Mexican fighter began to dig to the body with the left hook as Frampton traded with him. Halfway through in the seventh Leo boxed poised working off the jab following up with the left hook to the body as Frampton attempted to work his way inside. Working on the inside in round eight Frampton and Santa Cruz exchanged.

Frampton and Santa Cruz had another wild exchange in round nine as it was a close round. It was on in the championship rounds as the fighters traded Santa Cruz landed a snapping right hand. The twelfth and final round both fighters sensed the urgency as they did not hold back as they went toe to toe to the final bell. In the end the judges scored the bout 115-113, 115-113, and 114-114 as Leo Santa Cruz wins a majority decision and regains the WBA featherweight title.

In the co-feature bout of the evening “Mikey” Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) of Oxnard, California added another world title to his collection as he knocked out Dejan Zlaticanin (22-1, 15 KOs) of Montenegro to win the WBC lightweight title. Establishing the jab from the start Garcia countered Zlaticanin as he charged. Garcia continued to box behind the jab in the second as Zlaticanin stalked. A huge uppercut by Garcia followed by a right hand knocked Zlaticanin out cold as the referee Tony Weeks waived the fight at 2:21 of the third round.

Ukrainian lightweight Ivan Redkach (20-2-1, 16 KOs) stopped Desmond Brock (13-4-1, 4 KOs) of Kenner, Louisiana. Redkach kept his distance fighting from the southpaw stance as Brock stalked. Brock was cut from a punch in round three and referee Jay Nady warned Brock in round four for leading with his head as Redkach jabbed away and countered. The Ukrainian stopped Brock at 2:30 of the eighth and final round.

Super middleweight prospect David Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs) of Phoenix, Arizona scored a second round knockout over Uzbekistan’s Shareli Mamajonov (14-2, 7 KOs). A left hook followed by a right hand by Benavidez dropped Mamajonov in the final seconds of the opening round. Benavidez continued where he left off as a left hook to the body followed by a right hand sent Mamajonov to the canvas for a second time as he got up but the referee Russell Mora waived it at 1:04 of the second

Scotland’s undefeated super lightweight prospect Josh Taylor (8-0, 7 KOs) won an eight round decision over Alfonso Olvera (8-3-1, 3 KOs) of Mexico in going the distance for the first time in his pro career. Taylor had a tough task in Olvera from the start as he had to put in work. A straight left by Taylor rocked Olvera in round four. The Scottish fighter continued to connect with the straight left throughout the fight as Olvera held his own. The judges scored the fight 79-72, 78-73, and 78-73 as Josh Taylor stays undefeated.

Cuban featherweight prospect Leduan Barthelemy (12-0, 6 KO’s) won a lackluster unanimous decision over Jesus Aguinaga (5-4-1) of Phoenix in a scheduled six round bout. The southpaw Barthelemy boxed using his height and reach to keep away the pressuring Aguinaga. Boxing conservatively halfway through the Cuban fighter stuck the plan as the fans displayed their dissatisfaction. Aguinaga kept pressing to the final bell as Barthelemy cruised to a decision win. Scores were 59-55, 59-55, and 58-56.

Bantamweight Antonio Santa Cruz (5-2, 2 KOs), the cousin of Leo Santa Cruz and Victor Torres (2-5-1, 1 KO) went the distance in a four round rematch. Starting off where they left off, Santa Cruz was on the attack from the opening bell however in round two Torres dropped Santa Cruz with a short right hand. Santa Cruz got off the canvas as Torres stood his ground, the two traded away to the final bell. All three judges scored the bout 38-37 as Santa Cruz pulls the decision and avenges one of his defeats.

Making his pro debut featherweight Jerry Perez (1-0, 1 KO) of Harbor City made quick work of Javier Cepeda of New Mexico. Perez dropped Cepeda three times as the referee stopped the fight at 2:54.

In the opening bout from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Herbert Acevedo (13-2, 6 KOs) of Los Angeles, California by way of Garden City, Kansas and Chris Singleton (17-4-2, 8 KOs) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana went the distance in a scheduled six round welterweight bout. Singleton was slick as he boxed with Acevedo pressuring. In the final seconds of round two Acevedo dropped Singleton with a barrage of punches inside. Acevedo continued the pressure as he landed the overhand right numerous times on Singleton. All three judges scored the bout 59-54.

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