Teofimo Lopez Defends Junior Welterweight Crown against Steve Claggett

Robeisy Ramirez Pummels Brandon Leon Benitez in Co-Feature

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(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

MIAMI, Fla. (June 29, 2024) —  Teofimo Lopez (21-1, 13 KOs) defended his WBO and Ring Magazine junior welterweight world titles with a unanimous decision win over Canadian contender Steve Claggett (38-8-2, 6 KOs) Saturday evening at James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida.

Claggett, who was coming off a nine-fight winning streak, charged at Lopez from the opening bell. The 35-year-old had Lopez against the ropes for much of the fight, where he landed short punches around Lopez’s shoulder roll defense.

Lopez used his head movement at close range to evade many shots, but he was more comfortable on the outside. The 26-year-old moved often to establish distance, connecting quick combos around Claggett’s high guard, including a flurry that hurt him in the eighth.

Claggett was aggressive at every moment, but Lopez’s athleticism prevented him from mounting any significant offense.

Lopez retained his crown with scores of 120-108 2x & 119-109.

Lopez said, “I knew exactly what kind of fighter he was. I knew he would come forward and test my conditioning. And that’s what we had. We went twelve rounds.”

“The will has to be stronger than the skill. And that’s what we showed tonight. If I was tired, I know he was more tired because I worked very hard for this. We knew we had to break him down. The body shots were hurting him.”

“I’m very grateful. He’s a tough fighter. I don’t think anyone should overlook him. I knew that coming into this.”

Ramirez Pummels Benitez in 7

Former WBO Featherweight world champion Robeisy Ramirez (14-2, 9 KOs) stopped Mexico’s Brandon Leon Benitez (21-3, 9 KOs) in the seventh round of tonight’s co-feature.

Ramirez set the pace early by hurting Benitez with power shots in the second and third rounds. Benitez tried to work on the inside, but Ramirez consistently created space for combinations by either by pushing him off or using his feet.

In round seven, the two-time Olympic gold medalist began to move even more, touching Benitez with light punches. He then connected a devastating left uppercut that dropped Benitez, who did not recover, forcing the referee to end the fight at 2:46.

Ramirez said, “It’s no secret that Ismael Salas is one of the best strategists in the world. And so the plan was to wear him down little by little. Then, after the last round, he tells me not to look for power shots but to move a bit and to return to my {amateur} roots. That’s what I did. I touched and touched, and I found the shot.”

“It’s not my first time landing a shot like that. It feels good to land a punch like that because it demonstrates that we worked hard in camp.”

“I want my title back. I want the rematch against Rafael Espinoza. If it’s not with him, then I can fight against any of the other champions.”

Ali Walsh Avenges Loss to Akale

Middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh (11-1, 5 KOs) triumphed in his rematch against Sona Akale (9-2, 4 KOs), avenging his only pro defeat via six-round unanimous decision.

The grandson of “The Greatest” dropped Akale with a left hook in round three, but Akale fired back in round five with a fusillade of punches that hurt him. Ali Walsh then suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the sixth round but dug deep to finish the fight, using his right hand to connect on an aggressive Akale in the final seconds.

Ali Walsh prevailed with scores of 58-55 and 57-56 2x.

Junior Welterweight: Unbeaten prospect Emiliano Fernando Vargas (11-0, 9 KOs) secured a first-round TKO victory against Jose Zaragoza (9-9-2, 3 KOs). Vargas landed a counter right hand that dropped Zaragoza, which initiated an onslaught he could not recover from. Time of stoppage: 1:23.

Junior Welterweight:  Elvis Rodriguez (16-1-1, 13 KOs) tallied a 10-round unanimous points verdict over Filipino slugger Jino Rodrigo (12-4-2, 10 KOs). Rodriguez was dropped by a left hand in the opening round but rose off the deck to drop Rodrigo in the final seconds. Rodriguez struggled to deal with Rodrigo’s momentum but regained control by the middle rounds, outboxing him soundly in the final chapters. Scores: 98-91 2x and 97-92.

Heavyweight: Hometown hero Lorenzo Medina (11-0, 9 KOs) earned a six-round unanimous decision over Detrailous Webster (7-4, 3 KOs). Medina controlled the action with a quick jab and avoided most of Webster’s offense with head movement and footwork. Medina connected with right hands throughout the fight, outlanding Webster in nearly every exchange.

Junior Welterweight: Dominican Olympian Rohan Polanco (13-0, 8 KOs) blasted out Luis Hernandez (23-5, 20 KOs) via second-round TKO. Polanco hurt Hernandez with a punch to the liver before following up with several unanswered punches that forced referee Luis Pabon to end the fight at 2:28.

Featherweight: Yan Santana (12-0, 11 KOs) went the distance for the first time in his career, defeating Brandon Valdes (15-5, 7 KOs) via unanimous decision following 10 rounds of intense action. Santana floored Valdes with a left hook in the opening stanza, but he recovered and went-toe-to-toe with the unbeaten Dominican for the rest of the contest. Scores: 98-91 2x and 96-93.

Middleweight: Unbeaten Dominican southpaw Euri Cedeño (9-0-1, 8 KOs) made quick work of Dormedes Potes (14-7-1, 10 KOs), vanquishing him with a left hook to the body at 56 seconds of the first round.

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