Earlier today we saw Venezuelan star Jorge Linares (44-3, 27) defending his WBA, Ring Magazine and WBC “Diamond” titles against Filipino challenger Mercito Gesta (31-2-2, 17).
The fight started surprisingly competitively with Gesta aggressively coming forward, using a lot of head movement and letting his hands go in a manner that seemed to make Linares somewhat nervous. The Venezeuelan always looked the more skilled but Gesta was applying pressure, managing to get through with some hooks up top and seemed to be making Linares work for the rounds. It was however Gesta having his durability, toughness and heart tested as he was forced to take shots to land his occasional blow.
After the decent start from Gesta we saw Linares turn up the gears and begin to show case his skills, hand-speed and combinations. It began to look like the fight many expected, but Gesta was doing enough to force Linares to remain switched on, which saw him landing some razor sharp straights and eye catching combinations.
In round 8 Gesta managed to open up a nick above Linares' right eye, and Freddie Roach, in Gesta's corner, would likely have began to see a door open for the upset. Instead it seemed to solidify Linares' who seemed to win round 9 with his smart pot shot-ting, though did have to come through a strong Gesta rally as the Filipino let his hands go in short but exciting bursts.
Gesta refused to back down and just take the loss and continued to press the action in round 10, which was one of Linares' worst due to a lack of work from the champion. The success from those two rounds saw Gesta putting himself in harms way in the final couple of rounds but resulted in him taking shots from the faster, smoother Linares, who was constantly being forced to work.
Although Gesta was out classed for the most part he did come to fight and forced Linares to fight back in a fight that seemed to fly by. Sadly for Gesta though he never looked capable of doing enough and came up well short on the cards, with scores of 118-110, twice, and 117-111 all in favour of Linares.
To his credit this was the best we'd seen of Gesta, and whilst he wasn't close to winning he really put in an effort, especially early on. For Linares this win sets up some potential super fights with Vasyl Lomachneko and Mikey Garcia, but he would be the under-dog against both.
Just moments ago at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium fans saw the popular Jorge Linares (38-3, 25) claim the WBC Lightweight title as he managed to stop Mexico's hard hitting but crude Javier Prieto (24-8-2, 18) in 4 rounds.
The bout started somewhat tentatively with Prieto applying the pressure and Linares being forced to move, pick his spots and fight a controlled fight. At times it looked like it was going to be a battle between Linares skills and speed and the power and pressure of Prieto. Unfortunately for the Mexican however his lack of speed did make things a little bit easier to Linares who managed to avoid many of the wide round house swings of Prieto.
The first 2 rounds were very similar to each other. Prieto trying to land bombs whilst often forcing Linares backwards, Linares picking his spots and landing sharp shots in return. It did however look like Prieto was going to land eventually, and that's what he did in round 3 when he seemed to momentarily sting Linares. That was however as good as it got for Prieto who was then forced to follow the skillful Venezuelan who was caught by anything else all that notable.
In round 4 the ending was sudden. Prieto was on the march towards Linares until the "Golden Boy" landed a sharp jab instantly followed up right hand, right on the ear. This sent Prieto's legs into a wobble for a second before he dropped his hands, a moment later he dropped to his back. It seemed like Prieto had gone down awfully casually and he looked like a man sun bathing, though he took the entire count. From the way the right hand landed we have to suspect that Prieto suffered some sort of damage to his ear or equilibrium though he may have just had enough.
With this win Linares becomes a 3-weight world champion, just the second to have been promoted by a Japanese promoter. Unfortunately for him he will have to defend his title against Omar Figueroa when Figueroa returns from his hand injury and that could be a very painful night for Linares given the power and style of Figueroa. For now however Linares is free to celebrate a victory that puts him back on the boxing map and sees him claiming a world title for the first time since his loss to Juan Carlos Salgado, more than 5 years ago.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
World Title Results
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