Jorge Linares Retains WBA, WBC and Ring Lightweight Titles with Victory over Luke Campbell
September 24, 2017 Share

Jorge Linares Retains WBA, WBC and Ring Lightweight Titles with Victory over Luke Campbell

By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña

Photo: Cynthia Saldaña/Supreme Boxing

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA — This past Saturday night at the “Fabulous” Forum, the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine World Lightweight Champion Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (42-3, 27 KO’s) put his titles and 11-fight win streak on the line when he took on Olympic gold medalist and No. 1 contender Luke Campbell (17-1, 14 KO’s).

Photo: Cynthia Saldaña/Supreme Boxing

Campbell, the former WBC Silver Lightweight champion, took home a gold medal in front of his English countrymen at the 2012 London Olympic Games. From the opening bell, it was the speed of Linares that proved to be the deciding factor of this fight as he used quick counter shots to stun the gun-shy Campbell. In the second, Linares connected with a counter three punch combination that sent Campbell to the canvas. Campbell rose to his feet to beat the count as blood gushed from a cut under his right eye. Linares continued to control much of the early rounds. Then in the fifth, Campbell began to fire off stiff jabs and solid counters as he started to find his comfort zone. In the middle rounds, both fighters boxed at high skill levels, picking and choosing their punches and it was Campbell who was fighting on the offensive while Linares looked for a big counter shot. The championship rounds brought solid back and forth action as neither fighter refused to take step back, and after 12 entertaining rounds of action, the judges scored the fight 115-113 Campbell 114-113 Linares 115-112 Linares, giving “El Nino De Oro”  the split decision win.

“No one can ever doubt my hard work. Yea I got off to a rocky start, he 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.” Linares, who retained his titles, stated. “I fought very well. 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.”

This past Friday, in a strange turn of events, the HBO co-feature between undefeated junior welterweight Antonio Orozco (26-0, 17 KO) and Roberto “Massa” Ortiz (35-1-2, 26 KO’s) was canceled, as Orozco, who was set to make the first defense of his WBC USNBC Super Lightweight title against the veteran Ortiz, never showed up to the final weigh-in. Orozco, 29, also failed to make weight for another HBO-televised bout last December, when he was to face Fidel Maldonado, Jr. in Indio,California. Before that fight, Orozco claimed he was dehydrated and passed out, leaving Golden Boy Promotions to call off the fight. Friday, Orozco was reportedly around 147 pounds, seven pounds over the limit even after the fight was renegotiated to a catchweight of 143.5lbs. Orozco stated he “did not feel well,” so he declined to even weigh in.

Also in action was Filipino lightweight sensation Romero Duno (14-1, 13 KO’s) who took on Juan Sanchez (29-13, 14 KOs) of Tabasco, Mexico in an eight-round lightweight fight. Duno, a member of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, was last seen in the U.S. knocking out undefeated Golden Boy Prospect Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez. Saturday night, Duno put on a technical clinic using a big jab and landing big scoring shots at will on Sanchez. Duno used effective aggression and quality defense. All three judges scored the bout 78-74 in favor of Duno, who improves to 15-1 with 13 KOs.

“I’m satisfied with my performance. Sanchez was a tough competitor, but I respect him. I’ve learned a lot from this fight and am going to take the lessons I’ve learned onto the next (fight),” Duno said.

In other action, Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez (22-1-1, 15 KOs) of La Puente, California. Looked to get back in the win column, after his loss to Jesus Rojas on Cinco De Mayo, as he went toe to toe against Isao Carranza (15-9-1, 9 KOs) of Mexico City in an eight-round featherweight bout. Saturday night Lopez again found himself in a war as Carranza never took a step backwards. Although Lopez outpunched his opponent, Carranza found a way to land heavy shots of his own. Then in the fourth round, Lopez landed a big combination hurting Carranza. Lopez finished the round with a firestorm as he continued to land a barrage of unanswered punches on Carranza. Between rounds, the corner of Carranza had seen enough and called a halt to the bout.

“The fight went well, I wish I would’ve finished him earlier, but he was a true warrior,” stated Lopez. “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 a battle for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Super Bantamweight title, Azat Hovhannisyan (12-2, 10 KOs), a member of the Glendale, California Fighting Club, entered the ring against Sergio Frias (19-7-2, 10 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico. Hovhannisyan wasted no time in establishing the tempo of the bout early as he used his speed to aggressively attack Frias. The Armenia-born Hovhannisyan was the more skilled fighter throughout the bout landing precise combinations and vicious counters whenever Frias would try to engage. After ten rounds of boxing, the judges scored the fight 100-90 (twice) and 98-92 making Hovhannisyan the new WBC Continental Americas Super Bantamweight Champion.

“We’re very happy to get this big belt. This has been years in the making and I fought in the ring with basically one hand as I fractured my right hand,”Hovhannisyan said. “The swelling reappeared during the fight. Frias was a tough opponent, but we put in the work to get the win.”

To kick thing off Rafael “El Alikin” Gramajo (9-1-1, 2 KOs) of Los Angeles’ Westside Boxing Club, made his return to the ring after more than a year away as he took on Pedro Melo (17-16-2, 8 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico in a six-round super bantamweight bout. Gramajo never showed any signs of ring rust as he controlled the tempo of the fight using solid combinations and stiff jabs to keep Melo at bay. Gramajo began landing heavy body shots in the third and stunned Melo in the fourth with a quick left hook. Melo fought tough and exchanged in the pocket with Gramajo late in the fight, but it was too little too late. After six rounds of boxing, the judges scored the fight 59-55, and 58-56 (twice), all in favor of Gramajo.

“I felt good. 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,”Gramajo said. “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.”

(Feature photo: Cynthia Saldaña/Supreme Boxing)