Haskins defends bantamweight crown

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LONDON: Ivan Morales’s hopes of joining his two brothers as a world champion were dashed on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) when the Mexican suffered a unanimous points defeat by title-holder Lee Haskins in their International Boxing Federation bantamweight clash in Cardiff.

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Erik Morales was a four-time world champion, while Diego Morales won the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) super flyweight crown.

Ivan, however, rarely looked like completing a family hat trick at Cardiff’s Ice Arena.

Instead Haskins, who is based just across the border with England in the southwest city of Bristol, recorded a comfortable points win on all three judges’ cards, with scores of 119-108, 118-110 and 118-110 in his favor.

For Haskins, making his first title defense, it was the vindication he was indeed a true world champion.

The Englishman became champion in unsatisfactory fashion when Randy Caballero was stripped of the title after weighing in five pounds above the 118lbs bantamweight limit in November.

For months, Haskins — at 32 some eight years older than Morales — had to endure the frustration of people saying he had not won his title in the ring.

Morales, the taller of the two boxers, may have had a reach advantage but it was Haskins’s early shots that carried the greater power.

But the southpaw’s exceptionally low guard always gave Morales hope and the South American landed a few telling blows of his own.

But come the fourth round, there was significant swelling under Morales’s right eye.

However, he kept coming forward and in the seventh round was hit by a strong left hand from Haskins but the Englishman, possibly wary of over-committing, did not follow up.

Instead he was happy to dictate a relatively slow pace and stay well ahead on points all the way to the end of the 12th and final round.

AFP

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