American Keith Thurman retained his WBA welterweight title after a two-year absence from the ring with a points win over Josesito Lopez in New York.
Unbeaten Thurman, 30, has struggled with injuries and last year was forced to surrender his WBC crown.But he returned to see off compatriot Lopez, with two judges scoring the fight 115-111 and 117-109 in his favour and a third seeing a 113-113 draw.
“The champ is back,” said Thurman, who wants to fight Manny Pacquiao next.The Filipino great holds a WBA world welterweight title – one rung below Thurman’s ‘super’ world title.
Thurman took early control of the fight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and floored Lopez in the second round but the 34-year-old challenger had him in trouble in the middle rounds.
Thurman, though, weathered the storm and finished the stronger.He was fighting for the first time since beating compatriot Danny Garcia in March 2017 to claim the WBA and WBC titles.
Meanwhile in Houston, Texas, WBO light-middleweight champion Jaime Munguia defended his crown against Japan’s Takeshi Inoue with a unanimous decision.
Two judges awarded the 22-year-old Mexican every round with a score of 120-108, with one judge giving it to Munguia 119-109. He now has 32 wins from 32 fights.
On the undercard, Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas suffered a shock defeat on points to Xu Can of China to lose the lesser version of the WBA’s featherweight title.