Fight night in Houston

Munguia retains WBO belt with win over Inoue

Jamie Munguia lands a left hook against Takeshi Inoue. Photo courtesy of Tom Hogan-hoganphotos and Golden Boy Promotions

Junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia earned a tough fought victory, defeating challenger Takeshi Inoue by unanimous decision to retain his World Boxing Organization title Saturday night at the Toyota Center. Munguia won by scores of 120-108 (x2) and 119-109. SportsMap.com scored the fight 118-110 for Munguia.

Despite the wide scores it wasn't a walk in the park for Munguia (32-0, 26 KOs). Inoue (13-1-1, 7 KOs) came out with the intent to make the fight as physical as possible, rushing Munguia and trapping him in the corner of the ring. This tactic was successful early in the fight but Munguia adjusted as the match wore on, managing to keep his distance and fire off thudding combinations that pushed back Inoue.

Munguia invested heavily in body shots, repeatedly raking Inoue was huge liver and kidney combinations through the middle rounds. Despite this Inoue never appeared to be hurt to the body. Munguia did his best work in the ninth and tenth rounds, buckling Inoue with big shots just before the bell in each. Despite the big punches, Munguia could not score a knockdown.
"It was a great fight. He was a great warrior. It was a great battle for me," Munguia said through a translator. "I was surprised by him. He did great. But I'll take the title. I got the win, and that's what matters."

Munguia, who stands taller and broader than Inoue and most other 154 pound fighters, absorbed Inoue's interior punches without appearing to be stunned by them. Munguia mentioned after the fight that his plan was to ultimately move up to middleweight.

Munguia, who is just 22, defended his WBO belt for the third time. The Tijuana native claimed the title after knocking out former champion Sadam Ali in May of last year.

Golden Boy, the title promoter for the card, announced an official attendance of 7,408. The fights streamed live on DAZN.

XU STUNS ROJAS TO TAKE FEATHERWEIGHT CROWN

In the co-feature Can Xu sprung a big upset, defeating Jesus Rojas to take his WBA "regular" featherweight title. Xu (16-2, 2 KO) won a unanimous decision, with scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112. The fight appeared to be closer than the judges scored it. SportsMap.com scored the fight 115-113 for Xu. The fight is a very early candidate for 2019 fight of the year, with both fighters firing off vicious combinations throughout the fight. Rojas (26-3-2, 19 KO) seemed to score with his heavier punchers earlier in the fight. As the match wore on Xu found more success defending and was able to beat Rojas to the punch on quick combinations. Xu, a virtual unknown out of his home country of China prior to the bout, is now in line for a major fight at 126 pounds, including the possibility of matchup with WBA "super" title holder Leo Santa Cruz.

ORTIZ BLASTS OUT VALDEZ

In the opening fight of the main telecast super-prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. had no problem making quick work of Jesus Valdez in a fifth round knockout. Ortiz (12-0, 12 KO) spent the entire fight walking Valdez to the ropes, feeling no power from Valdez's counters. In the fourth Ortiz landed a huge right hand at the end of the round that caused Valdez to retreat and take more repeated shots to the head before the bell rang. In round five Ortiz opened a cut above Valdez's left eye. After busting the cut open further later in the round, Valdez was able to make it to the bell before the ringside doctor called a halt to the action. Following the fight Ortiz told DAZN's Chris Mannix that he felt he was ready for a title shot. Ortiz's promoter Oscar De La Hoya said he would like to make another fight for Ortiz, a Grand Prairie native, in Houston.

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