Stage set for a Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton rubber match

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A roundup of the past week’s notable boxing results from around the world:

Sunday in Macau, China

Jerwin Ancajas TKO7 Jose Alfredo Rodriguez
Retains a junior bantamweight title
Records: Ancajas (26-1-1, 17 KOs); Rodriguez (32-5, 19 KOs)

Rafael’s remarks: Ancajas, a 24-year-old southpaw from the Philippines, won a 115-pound title belt by dominant unanimous decision from then-undefeated Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo in Sept. 3 in Manila. The victory made Ancajas the first Manny Pacquiao-promoted fighter to win a world title. He made his first defense against Rodriguez, 27, of Mexico, and cruised to the victory. Ancajas dominated from the opening bell, and before the eighth round, time was called so the ringside doctor could examine Rodriguez, who was having trouble with an apparent dislocated right shoulder. He was unable to continue and the fight was called off.

Also on the card, fringe heavyweight contender Carlos Takam (34-3-1, 26 KOs), 36, knocked out Marcin Rekowski (17-5, 14 KOs) in the fourth round. Takam, a Cameroon native based in France, was coming off a decision loss in May to Joseph Parker (who went on to win a world title). Rekowski, 39, of Poland, lost his third fight in a row and his fourth in his past five bouts.


Saturday in Las Vegas

Leo Santa Cruz W12 Carl Frampton – Fight recap
Wins a featherweight title
Scores: 115-113 (twice), 114-114
Records: Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs); Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs)

Rafael’s remarks: Frampton, 29, of Northern Ireland, and Santa Cruz, 28, a Mexico native from Los Angeles, are made for each other. Their styles blend perfectly, and they’ll make a great fight every time they lace ’em up. They did in July when Frampton moved up in weight and edged Santa Cruz by majority decision to win a world title in his second division. It was an action-packed fight of the year candidate and boosted Frampton’s case for 2016 fighter of the year honors. And in the rematch, Santa Cruz, who has won titles in three divisions, avenged his only loss by majority decision to regain the belt. A crowd of 10,085 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena sounded more like 100,085; it was one of the best atmospheres a fan could ask for thanks to the thousands of Irish who made the long trip as well as the big Mexican turnout there to support Santa Cruz.

To nobody’s surprise, it was another outstanding fight. Now they are 1-1, and that means an inevitable trilogy. Both fighters, who were incredibly gracious before and after both bouts, said they have to fight for a third time.

Mikey Garcia KO3 Dejan Zlaticanin – Fight recap
Wins a lightweight title
Records: Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs); Zlaticanin (22-1, 15 KOs)

Rafael’s remarks: What else is there to say except that Garcia was absolutely sensational? The 29-year-old from Oxnard, California, returned in July from a 2½-year layoff because of a contract beef with former promoter Top Rank and smashed former featherweight titleholder Elio Rojas in the fifth round. But Rojas was not the level of Zlaticanin, a bull-strong puncher with a good résumé making his first title defense. But it was over rather quickly, as Garcia walked through the shorter man with stunning ease thanks to a devastating jab and fast combination punching that was on point.

After two rounds of domination, Garcia finished the job with an absolutely sick knockout of the year candidate, as he nailed Zlaticanin with a right uppercut and cuffing left hand that had him in huge trouble before Garcia landed the finisher, a clean right hand that knocked Zlaticanin out cold.


Saturday in Indio, California

Miguel Berchelt TKO11 Francisco Vargas – Fight recap
Wins a junior lightweight title
Records: Berchelt (31-1, 28 KOs); Vargas (23-1-2, 17 KOs)

Rafael’s remarks: Although Berchelt, 25, of Mexico, dominated the action-packed fight (going past six rounds for the first time) and looks like a good talent, it’s clear the brutal fights Vargas, 32, of Mexico, has been in have taken their toll. Berchelt dished out even more punishment, leaving Vargas with severe cuts over both eyes and a bruised face. Vargas’ skin just will not hold up at this point. The fight was a war, but Berchelt badly cut his left eye in the fourth round, and the blood obscured his vision. The right eye was not as bad, but by the time they got into the later rounds, Berchelt was landing at will until referee Raul Caiz Jr., his shirt covered in Vargas’ blood, stopped it at two minutes, 19 seconds of the 11th round.

Takashi Miura KO12 Miguel “Mickey” Roman – Fight recap
Junior lightweight – Title eliminator
Records: Miura (31-3-2, 24 KOs); Roman (56-12, 43 KOs)

Rafael’s remarks: Former titleholder Miura, a 32-year-old southpaw from Japan who lost his title in 2015 to Francisco Vargas, earned another title shot against main event winner Miguel Berchelt courtesy of this absolutely grueling slugfest against Roman, 31, of Mexico. Fights get no tougher and more violent, but both guys showed massive hearts in what likely will be a fight of the year honorable mention.

Miura, his right eye cut and in trouble in the middle rounds, rallied to take over as he dropped Roman with a left hand to the body in final seconds of the 10th round, knocked him to all fours with about a dozen unanswered shots in the 11th round and then put him away in the 12th round with a straight left hand to the chin.

Also on the card, Sadam Ali (24-1, 14 KOs), 28, of Brooklyn, New York, won his second fight in a row since Jessie Vargas knocked him out for a vacant welterweight belt in March 2016. Ali dropped Mexico’s Jorge Silva (22-13-2, 18 KOs), 24, in the first round and then knocked him out at two minutes, 27 seconds of the third round of their junior middleweight bout.


Friday in Studio City, California

Erick De Leon KO4 Jose Salinas
Junior lightweight
Records: De Leon (15-0, 9 KOs); Salinas (10-3-1, 5 KOs)

Rafael’s remarks: De Leon, 24, of Detroit, scored an explosive knockout of Salinas, 26, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the main event of the first Top Rank “Solo Boxeo” card of 2017. De Leon had promised a knockout victory leading up the fight and delivered one when he landed a hard left hand to Salinas’ body to drop him. Salinas was writhing in pain as he tried to get up but he couldn’t, as referee Jack Reiss counted him out at two minutes, 47 seconds. Salinas lost for the second time in his past three fights.

In the co-feature, welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr. (15-0, 5 KOs), 25, of Los Angeles, cruised to a unanimous decision against Johnny Rodriguez (8-2-1, 5 KOs), 35, of Denver, winning 79-73, 79-73 and 78-74. In another bout on the card, Robson Conceicao (2-0, 1 KO), 28, who was the first Brazilian to win Olympic gold medal in boxing, knocked out Aaron Ely (3-2, 1 KOs) at one minute, six seconds of the second round. Conceicao scored two knockdowns in the opening round, and when he dropped him yet again in the third round, referee Raul Caiz Sr. stopped the fight.


Wednesday in Phitsanulok, Thailand

Wanheng Menayothin W12 Melvin Jerusalem
Retains a strawweight title
Scores: 115-113, 114-113 (twice)
Records: Menayothin (45-0, 17 KOs); Jerusalem (11-1, 7 KOs)

Rafael’s remarks: Menayothin, 31, of Thailand, made the sixth title defense of his 105-pound belt, but it was not easy, as Jerusalem, 22, of the Philippines, was in it all the way. Referee Celestino Ruiz docked a point from Jerusalem in the eighth round for a low blow, which cost him a draw.



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