In Inglewood, California, Lucas Matthysse came from behind on the scorecards to drop and stop Tewa Kiram in the 8th round. Matthysse, who picks up the vacant WBA Welterweight title in the process, now joins fellow 147-pound champions Keith Thurman, holder of the WBA (Super) and WBC belts, and Errol Spence Jr, who recently defended his IBF portion against Lamont Peterson.
Through the first seven rounds, Matthysse was struggling to close the gap and negate Kiram’s longer reach and impressive distance control. But the Argentine puncher made his vaunted power count when it mattered, as he obliterated the work of Kiram courtesy of a simple one-two combination, with a right hand to the temple sending his foe to the canvas in a heap.
Kiram, who had been fighting outside of his native Thailand for the first time, managed to beat the count and fire back. However, with two minutes remaining on the clock, the outcome seemed almost inevitable. Kiram, who had been previously leading by a 68-65 tally on BB’s card, was soon dropped hard again, this time from a thudding jab, which prompted the referee to abandon the count and end matters.
With Matthysse now in possession of a world accolade, he of course enters the ‘big fight’ discussion against the likes of Spence and Thurman, even if – it has to be said – his chances of beating either man don’t look awfully convincing following this performance.
Matthysse is a warrior, granted, and his gnarly, ferocious style has been great for boxing. And, let’s not forget, he will continue to be a threat so long as his power remains. But he’s also getting into that veteran territory, with a few hard wars behind him that may well be starting to show. And so naturally Spence and Thurman, a pair of young, unbeaten elites who’ve proven themselves on the world stage, just seem all wrong for Matthysse.
Linares vs Gesta
Jorge Linares won a Unanimous Decision following a hard-fought battle of wills against Mercito Gesta, with both men exchanging plenty of leather in tonight’s electric appetizer. The fight seemed fairly close in terms of action, with both men having their moments, but it was Linares’ extra class and quality punching that allowed him to keep a hold of the WBA and RING Lightweight titles.
Judges saw the contest 118-110 (twice) and 117-111, which seemed fair enough, but the scorecards couldn’t reveal the gutsy, unexpected effort of the overlooked Gesta. The man came to win, and, certainly made things interesting. Gesta was pumped up for tonight’s challenge, and was clearly unfazed by Linares’ world standing and reputation as a formidable boxer-banger.
And for his efforts, Gesta is surely owed a return spot on another marquee Golden Boy card in the near future. As for Linares’ next move, short of a climb to Junior Welterweight, it’s hard to really imagine anything bigger than a clash with BB’s Pound for Pound No.7, Mikey Garcia. Or, though it may seem more unlikely, a bout with Vasyl Lomachenko, should the Ukrainian superstar decide to inflate to 135-pounds.
Will we be seeing one of those fights anytime soon? Well, that’s the big question. Let us know your thoughts on Matthysse vs Kiram, Linares’ tougher than scripted supporting act, plus the immediate future for both victors.