McDonnell KOs Vargas to Retain Title

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McDonnell KOs Vargas to Retain Title
Vargas rocked the champ in rounds seven and eight, but was eating punches and began to tire in the ninth. (Photo: Reuters)

Saturday night at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London, United Kingdom, WBA World bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (28-2-1, 13 KOs), from Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK, successfully defended his title against Francisco Vargas (29-10-3, 20 KOs), from Tijuana, Mexico, via knockout at 2:39 of round nine.

It was McDonnell’s fourth defense of the crown and his 20th straight win.

Vargas was a late substitute for injured Juan Alberto Rosas and he came to fight. It was his first 12-rounder, but he wasn’t intimidated by McDonnell or the partial crowd in The O2.

Using his height, reach and rangy jab, McDonnell controlled the action early.

But there was no quit in Vargas. He rocked the champ in rounds seven and eight, but was eating punches and began to tire in the ninth.

McDonnell landed a barrage of right hands which forced Vargas to take a knee. Referee Terry O’Connor had seen enough and waved it off.

“This was a nice run-out for me,” said McDonnell after the fight. “The kid came it at the last minute and we knew he was going to be tough for the first half of the fight. The game plan was to break him down, work him down and take him out of there after six.

“It felt so easy in there but it was very frustrating when I started chasing him around and not cutting him down, but when I pinged him and let the shots go you could see he couldn’t take the shots and the power, and he folded.

“I have been on the road and proved I am the best in the bantamweight division. I beat the WBO champion and should have the IBF, WBA and WBO World titles. I have defended the WBA belt four times. I am the best in the bantamweights—forget Lee Haskins, Shinsuke Yamanaka, your Juan Carlos Payano. I don’t mind moving up to the Quiggs and the Framptons.”

Eddie Hearn agrees.

“He really has been superb,” said the promoter. “He is an unsung hero, but he is a two-time bantamweight world champion. I thought he went through the gears excellently.

“I believe he is the best bantamweight in the world. I really think he’s getting better and better.”

The other champs in the division have been put on notice.

This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.


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