Sports

Lopez retains IBF belt after dominating Gonzalez

Luis Alberto Lopez retained his IBF featherweight title with a unanimous-decision victory over Joet Gonzalez on Friday in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The scores were 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.

Lopez, ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at 126 pounds, was headlining on ESPN for the first time in the U.S.

Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico, busted up Gonzalez with shots from dizzying angles, mostly thrown from his hips as his hands dangled at his side. Gonzalez (26-4, 15 KOs) closed strong down the stretch, but emerged with cuts under both eyes, which were swelling shut.

Gonzalez’s best work came when he pressured behind his jab, but it wasn’t enough against the unorthodox Lopez, who crashed the featherweight title picture in December with a majority-decision victory over Josh Warrington on the road.

Lopez, 29, returned to the U.K. for his first title defense, a highlight-reel fifth-round TKO of Michael Conlan in May.

Now, Lopez has a second successful defense under his belt as he continues to take hold of the featherweight division.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, is now 0-3 in title fights. His other title defeats came by way of Emanuel Navarrete and Shakur Stevenson. Gonzalez, who fights out of Los Angeles, also suffered a loss to Isaac Dogboe last year.

Zayas remains undefeated

Junior middleweight prospect Xander Zayas kept his perfect record intact with a fifth-round TKO of Roberto Valenzuela Jr., in the ESPN chief-support bout.

Zayas (17-0, 11 KOs) scored two first-round knockdowns and bloodied Valenzuela afterward until the referee stopped the fight in Round 5. Zayas fights out of South Florida while Valenzuela hails from Mexico.

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