Luis Alberto Lopez resists Joet Gonzalez onslaught to defend IBF featherweight world title


Luis Alberto Lopez comes through a 12 round battle with Joet Gonzalez to defend the IBF featherweight world title in Texas; Xander Zayas proves himself a super-welterweight contender against Roberto Valenzuela; Emiliano Fernando Vargas, son of Fernando Vargas, wins by stunning stoppage

Luis Alberto Lopez resists Joet Gonzalez onslaught to defend IBF featherweight world title

Luis Alberto Lopez retained the IBF featherweight title, defeating Joet Gonzalez by unanimous decision at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

But their battle was closer than the judges’ scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112 might suggest.

Lopez has been on an outstanding run of form, beating Josh Warrington in Leeds and Michael Conlan in Belfast to win and retain his world title.

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Luis Alberto Lopez resists Joet Gonzalez onslaught to defend IBF featherweight world title

He took control of his contest with Gonzalez early on only for the latter to come on strong later.

Gonzalez targeted the body in the first round but as the contest progressed Lopez would set up his shots from range.

The champion can look wild when he leaps forward with lunging punches but he worked with counter-shots to stymie Gonzalez from gaining momentum.

The challenger, though, was desperate to win a world title on his third attempt and ratcheted up the pressure in the closing stages of the bout.

It was not enough to derail Lopez.

“It was a very close fight. We know that Joet Gonzalez was coming forward. He wouldn’t take a step back. I know it was a tough fight, but I know that I won,” Lopez said afterwards.

Gonzalez has fought Shakur Stevenson and Emanuel Navarrete in his previous world title fights and had been denied a championship victory once again.

“I thought the scores should have been a little closer. Overall, I am very disappointed in my performance,” Gonzalez said.

Luis Alberto Lopez resists Joet Gonzalez onslaught to defend IBF featherweight world title

“I felt that I could have done a lot better. By far, this is the worst performance of my title fights, even though I prepared to the fullest. I am truly disappointed in my performance.

“I felt like in the other world title fights I did better. I felt like I got hit less. I did feel like I landed some good shots, but I feel like I’ve could have done a lot better.”

Lopez though declared: “We knew that Joet Gonzalez is a very dangerous fighter. He never stops attacking. He can take anything you throw at him. We knew that’s what he came to do and that he came with a lot of hunger to take the title away from me, but I also am very hungry to remain champion.

“I hurt him. I saw that I hurt him. But, as I’ve said, he’s a warrior who can take anything you throw at him, even the bucket. He is still standing, and my respects to him.”

Rapidly rising Puerto Rican super-welterweight prospect Xander Zayas showed off his speed and power as he dropped Roberto Valenzuela twice in their first round before eventually overwhelming him in the fifth.

“We knew that it was a matter of time,” Zayas said. “I came here to accomplish a goal. I came here to let everybody know at 154lbs that I’m coming for everything.

“They said he was a power puncher, and I dominated tonight. I’m a contender now at 154lbs,” he continued.

“I’ll be ready for a world title. All my respect to Roberto. He was a warrior like I knew he was going to be.”

Emiliano Fernando Vargas, the son of former two-time world champion Fernando Vargas, scored a spectacular third-round stoppage victory over Alejandro Guardado.

A countering left hook set Vargas up for an attack that forced a finish.

Vargas said: “We’re just going to work in there. It’s a beautiful thing to be here with all my beautiful Mexican fans. I love what I do. I get up early in the morning and it’s not work. I can’t wait to be back.”


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