Berchelt retains WBC crown against Miura

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LOS ANGELES—Miguel Berchelt retained his WBC world title Saturday with a unanimous decision over former champion Takashi Miura in the first defense of his super featherweight belt.

Mexico’s Berchelt won almost every round and it showed on the lopsided scorecards but the unflinching Miura fought on pride and looked like he could have knocked the champion out at any moment.

“I was prepared because I knew I was facing an ex champion,” said Berchelt. “He has the toughest left hand in the division. He was hitting me and hurting me sometimes.

“But I was always the better fighter.”

The judges scored the fight 116-111, 120-109 and 119-108 for the 33-year-old Berchelt who won the title with an 11th round upset victory over Francisco Vargas in January.

WBC World Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (left) of Mexico connects with a left against Takashi Miura of Japan in round three of their title fight, July 15, 2017 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. AFP,

Japan’s Miura (31-4-2, 24 KOs) was hoping to reclaim the WBC title which he held for more than two years before losing to Vargas in 2015.

Berchelt set the tone early in the 12-round clash at the Los Angeles Forum as he dropped Miura late in the first round and rocked him with a hard punch in the fifth round that snapped the challenger’s head back.

Down on points heading into the sixth round, Miura went looking for the knockout and it didn’t seem like a bad strategy for the Japanese dynamo who had 24 career knockouts coming into the bout.

But Berchelt’s defense was too strong and his plan to land a mixture of head and body shots allowed him to score ample points with the judges.

Miura took the fight to Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) in the seventh round as the Mexican appeared to tire, pawing at him instead of landing solid blows like earlier in the bout.

Berchelt also had to deal the non-stop attack of Miura, who wouldn’t yield an inch, despite taking a massive amount of punishment to the head and body.

Berchelt wobbled Miura in the eighth with a left hook but he couldn’t finish him off.

Miura showed he has a steel chin and still had an opportunity to win the fight heading into the 11th round but only if he could score a knockout against Berchelt, who was in excellent condition. 

Asked if he was interested in a fight with the top fighter in the division, Vasyl Lomachenko, Berchelt said yes.

“I beat Vargas, I beat Miura. I am ready to fight the best,” he said.

On the undercard, champion Jezreel Corrales got the majority decision over Robinson Castellanos after the WBA super featherweight world title fight was stopped 31 seconds into the 10th round because of an accidental head butt. 

Corrales won by scores of 94-94, 94-93 and 96-92.

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