Franchon Crews outpoints Maricela Cornejo in rematch, retains WBC 168-lb. title, wins WBO belt
CARSON, California – Franchon Crews had an easier time with Maricela Cornejo the first time they fought. That was one year ago in Las Vegas and the 32-year-old Baltimore resident outpointed the favored Cornejo to win the vacant WBC super middleweight title.
Crews (6-1, 2 KOs) retained the title and added the WBO 168-pound strap to her collection tonight at Dignity Health Sports Park thanks to constant pressure and the strength of her overhand right, which landed flush in every round, but she had to work hard to earn scores of 98-92 (twice) and 97-93. Cornejo (13-4, 5 KOs), who took the fight on two days notice when Crews’ original opponent, Alejandra Jimenez, fell out due to visa issues, was a vastly improved boxer from their first encounter.
Cornejo, who won an eight-round decision over Erin Toughill in January, looked sharp and spry for a late substitute with eight months of inactivity. Light on her feet with good timing, especially with her jab and counter hook, she was able to walk Crews into traps as she punched on the fly.
Cornejo let her hands go in spots but she was able to catch Crews as her antagonist lunged forward in Rounds 2 and 3, and she appeared to rock the defending titleholder with a well-timed right cross-left hook combination near the end of Round 5. The 31-year-old Los Angeles resident landed well in Round 6 as well, but Crews regained momentum with smarter pressure and a series of hard right hands in Round 7.
Both women appeared tired down the stretch of the 10 rounder but the style clash still made for competitive rounds even as their technique fell off a bit. The crowd booed the official scorecards but the judges obviously favored the consistent aggression of Crews over Cornejo’s stick-and-move game plan.
“I looked terrible,” a gracious Crews, who appealed to the audience by giving props to Cornejo and to Mexico, said during her post-fight interview. “This week has been hell. I got out here thinking I was going to fight one person, Alejandra Jimenez, and wound up with another, but I still want to fight Jimenez.”