Porter edges Ugas by split decision to keep crown

AFP

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 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."

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Porter improved to 30-2 with one drawn in the first defence of the title he won last September with a unanimous decision victory 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 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 wobble Ugas, 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.

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