Errol Spence Jr showed no signs of ring rust, or ill effects from a recently repaired eye, to add the WBA (Super) welterweight belt to his WBC and IBF straps with a tenth round stoppage of Yordenis Ugas in Arlington, Texas.
Spence claimed the IBF belt in 2017 with a knockout of Kell Brook, and added the WBC crown by taking a split decision win over Shawn Porter two years later. ’The Truth’ had only fought twice since 2019, and was involved in a serious car accident, but returned to clearly outscore Danny Garcia in December 2020. Ugas took the vacant WBA belt in September 2020, taking a split verdict against Abel Ramos, but really broke out in his last fight, where he outscored the legendary Pacquiao to be elevated to ’Super’ champion status. Spence was returning here after eye surgery.
Spence largely dominated in this one, but did have to overcome a major rocky patch midway through. Ugas looked sharp early on, possibly shading the opener, and the second was also close, but Spence began to get into a rhythm, and landed with several uppercuts in the fourth as he began to assert his authority. Ugas was competitive, but Spence was getting the better of the action, but the Cuban had his man in serious trouble in the sixth, rocking Spence back towards the ropes with a big right hand, and in trouble. Another shot forced Spence’s mouth guard out of his mouth, and the referee’s intervention to retrieve it bought the Texan some valuable time to recover, which he duly did. Once he weathered that storm, Spence hurt Ugas with a left in the seventh, and unloaded with several power shots in round eight that left Ugas’ eye almost closed.
More power punches forced a check with the ringside doctor, but Ugas continued, and Spence claimed the ninth, before forcing the end of the fight halfway through round ten, where the doctor had ruled Ugas unable to carry on.
Attention now turns to a potential super fight against WBO champion Terence Crawford, which can hopefully be made this year.
“Everybody knows who I want next. I want Terence Crawford next”, said Spence post-fight.
“That’s the fight that I want. That’s the fight that everybody else wants. Terence, I’m coming for that belt!”
The chief support saw the regular version of the WBA welterweight title on the line, and Radzhab Butaev dropped the belt in his first defence, coming up on the wrong side of a split decision against Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis. Two judges saw Stanionis a clear winner by scores of 117-110 and 116-111, but the third judge somehow gave Butaev the nod by a 114-113 score.
There was plenty of ten round action on the bill, and Cody Crowley took a step up in class at welterweight, and the Canadian ‘Crippler’ took a wide ten round decision win against Josesito Lopez. Lopez was down in the seventh, and Crowley took victory by a score of 99-90, and two at 98-91.
The vacant WBO Intercontinental lightweight title was claimed by Isaac Cruz, and he stopped the faded Yuriorkis Gamboa in five rounds. Gamboa had lost his last two in good company to Gervonta Davis and Devin Haney, and those defeats had clearly taken something out of the Cuban. Gamboa was down in each of rounds two, three and four before being stopped a round later.
Jose Valenzuela needed just over half of the first round to take the vacant WBC Continental Americas lightweight title, as he knocked out Francisco Vargas, a former WBC champion at super featherweight, and at welterweight, Brandun Lee extended his record to 25-0 with a ten round points win against Zachary Ochoa.
Vito Mielnicki Jr took an eight round decision against Dan Karpency at super welterweight, and at cruiserweight, Adrian Taylor took a split decision win over Efetobor Apochi.
There were two six rounders, where Angel Barrientes took a majority decision win at super bantamweight against Fernando Garcia, and light heavyweight Darius Fulghum stopped Nosa Divine Nehikhare in four.
In the sole four round bout on the card, Samuel Arnold moved to 5-0, as he stopped Darryl Jones inside a round at middleweight.