Emanuel Navarrete came through his toughest test with a gutsy display of punch output to edge Joet Gonzalez by unanimous decision in their world title fight on Friday night in San Diego.
Navarrete clung onto his WBO featherweight belt after inflicting obvious damage to Gonzalez, but his challenger was still able to win rounds until the final bell brought their exciting clash to an end.
Gonzalez ended the fight with two awful cuts around both eyes, and significant swelling on his face.
The first cut was inflicted in the third round when Navarrete’s whirlwind of punches threatened to bring the fight to an early conclusion.
By the halfway mark, Navarrete was out-working his challenger. But Gonzalez stung him with a body shot in return.
Gonzalez, showing incredible willpower, made the final few rounds the most competitive of the night but it wasn’t enough.
The judges scored the fight in the defending champion’s favour 118-110, 116-112, 116-112.
“Joet exceeded expectations, he is a great fighter,” said Navarrete, who has now won 35 of his 36.
“It was a close fight but my conditioning was the difference between him and me.
“Without a doubt, I hurt him.
“But he kept coming back and he also hurt me.
“I will give him a rematch.”
Sky Sports Boxing schedule
October 16 – BOXXER in Newcastle
Savannah Marshall vs Lolita Muzeya – WBO middleweight title
Hughie Fury vs Christian Hammer
Chris Eubank Jr vs Wanik Awdijan
October 24 – Top Rank in Atlanta
Jamel Herring vs Shakur Stevenson – WBO super-featherweight title
October 31 – Top Rank in New York
Jose Zepeda vs Josue Vargas
November 6 – Top Rank in Las Vegas
Mikaela Mayer vs Maiva Hamadouche – IBF and WBO super-featherweight titles
November 6 – BOXXER in Liverpool
November 20 – BOXXER in London
Richard Riakporhe vs Olanrewaju Durodola
Caroline Dubois professional debut
November 20 – Top Rank in Las Vegas
Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter – WBO welterweight title
December 11 – Top Rank in Las Vegas
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey
December 17 – Top Rank in Montreal
Artur Beterbiev vs Marcus Browne – IBF and WBC light-heavyweight titles
December 18 – Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight title