Miguel Berchelt stops late-sub Maxwell Awuku in three rounds
Miguel Berchelt successfully defended his WBC 130-pound title with a third-round stoppage of late-sub Maxwell Awuku on Saturday at the Grand Oasis Arena in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
It was Berchelt’s second successful defense of the title he won by stopping Francisco Vargas last January.
Berchelt was originally scheduled to face mandatory challenger Cristian Mijares, but Mijares reportedly did not agree to terms of the fight. Carlo Magali of the Philippines was finalized as a replacement, but Filipino boxing officials did not approve of Magali fighting Berchelt because he did not fulfill the 45-day mandated rest period after his Jan. 13 knockout win over Masatoshi Kotani of Japan.
Awuku (44-4-1, 30 knockouts), who is not ranked in the top 15 by any of the major sanctioning bodies, took the fight over a week ago. Fighting as a pro since November of 2002, Awuku was fighting for the fifth time outside his native Ghana.
The southpaw challenger held his own early on against Berchelt, who was fighting in his hometown of Cancun. However, it was only a matter of time before Berchelt shortened the distance between the two, landing thudding punches that onto Awuku.
With over a minute left in the third round, a straight right hand dropped Awuku flat onto his back. Awuku would beat the count and fight back, but was dropped against the ropes by a barrage of punches from Berchelt.
Awuku stood up on unsteady legs, but the fight was allowed to continue. Berchelt sent Awuku reeling against the ropes with a barrage of punches, prompting referee Hector Afu to step in and stop the bout at 2:43.
Berchelt (33-1, 29 KOs) may face mandatory challenger Miguel ‘Mickey’ Roman in his next title defense. Ironically, Roman also fought Saturday night, and also in his hometown of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Hard-hitting Tijuana junior middleweight Jaime Munguia (27-0, 24 KOs), THE RING’s 2017 Prospect of the Year, stopped Argentina’s Jose Carlos Paz in the third round.
Munguia, who had a height and reach advantage, dropped Paz with a left hook to the body near the end of the opening round.
Paz (21-7-1, 12 KOs) had his moments during the second, but was dropped again by a left hook to the body by Munguia. Paz remained on one knee while referee Hector Afu stopped the bout at 2:59.
Fringe junior welterweight contender Pedro Campa won a hard-fought 10 round unanimous decision over Ivan Alvarez (27-9, 17 KOs), who had a point deducted from him in round two for repeatedly hitting Campa behind the head.
Scores were 98-91, 97-92, and 96-93 in favor of Campa, who improves to 28-1, 19 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at FSalazarBoxing and on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing