Porter edges Ugas by split decision to keep welterweight crown


Los Angeles (AFP)

American Shawn Porter retained his World Boxing Council welterweight title on Saturday with a split-decision victory over Cuban challenger Yordenis Ugas.

Two judges awarded the fight to Porter by scores of 116-112 and 115-113, while the third saw Ugas as a 117-111 winner.

"It was close. I was on my toes the entire fight," Porter said. "I look forward to whatever is coming next."

Porter improved to 30-2 with one drawn in the first defense of the title he won last September in a unanimous decision over Danny Garcia.

But Porter, who searched in vain for his first knockout in two years, was far from overpowering after needing an extra two hours Friday at the weigh-in to drop within the 147-pound (66.7kg) division limit.

Ugas, who took a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, fell to 23-4 and saw his eight-fight win streak snapped despite going 12 rounds for only the second time in his career.

Porter was aggressive in attacking the larger Ugas in the early rounds.

But the defiant challenger began working to Porter's body, mindful of his weigh-in struggles, and taunted the champion to engage more, hoping to take full advantage of his reach edge.

Ugas and Porter traded punches in the middle rounds, with the American using speed and timing to keep Ugas off-balance but the Cuban answering every punch when Porter moved inside.

Porter landed a solid left jab at the end of the 11th round to send Ugas wobbling, setting up an intense final round.

Porter went down in a corner after a swinging right by Ugas but referee Jack Reiss ruled it a slip and the rivals exchanged punches to the last bell.

In Verona, New York, Russian Dmitry Bivol dominated American Joe Smith, winning by a unanimous decision to retain his World Boxing Association light heavyweight world title for the fifth time.

The 28-year-old Bivol won on the scorecards of all three judges at the Turning Stone Resort Casino -- two had it at 119-109 while the other put it at 118-110.

Bivol improved to 16-0 with 11 knockouts, while Smith dropped to 24-3 with 20 KOs.

Bivol used his fast hands, strong power and deep experience as an amateur to keep Smith off guard. In his last fight 11 months ago, he won a similar dominating unanimous decision win over Sullivan Barrera.

Smith was coming off a first-round knockout victory over Melvin Russell and fighting for a title for the first time in his career.