With scores of 119-109 on all three judges cards, Leo Santa Cruz retains his WBA Super World Featherweight title over Rafael Rivera.
Santa Cruz (36-1-1,19KO) attacked Rivera with a barrage of body shots and head snapping upper cuts on his way to the unanimous decision win. As has been the case since 2016, Leo dedicated his performance to his father who while still battling bone cancer was working his corner Saturday night.
Rafael Rivera (26-3-2, 17KO) took this fight on three weeks notice after Miguel Flores, who was the original opponent had to pull out due to an ankle injury. Rivera was in deep waters against Santa Cruz all night but was game and fought hard over 12 rounds.
“I’m very happy with my performance, I thought I gave everyone a great fight”
“People will know me better now, and it was a great experience. I want to be a world champion, but it didn’t happen tonight. I will continue to fight and show everyone what I can do.” Rivera said.
When asked about future plans for 2019, Santa Cruz stated a unification with WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr in the summer is his goal.
“I’ll be back in June or July. I want to unify the belts against anybody, Oscar Valdez, Gary Russell, Josh Warrington, even a third fight against Carl Frampton, any of those fights, I want them.”