Boxing - Abril tames Bogere to defend WBA lightweight belt

Richard Abril defended his WBA lightweight title in Las Vegas after holding off a charging Sharif Bogere to win by unanimous decision.

Boxing - Abril tames Bogere to defend WBA lightweight belt

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WBA lightweight champion boxer Richard Abril (R) of Cuba connects with a punch on Sharif Bogere of Uganda during their WBA lightweight title fight at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas (Reuters)

The Cuban was awarded the fight 115-111 116-110 116-110 after finding his range following a brutal opening.

Ugandan Bogere, shorter than 5'11" Abril by five inches, charged out his corner to attack on the inside - with the result that both boxers hit the canvas in both the first round and the second.

Abril expertly kept his opponent at arm's length from then on in moving on to 18-3-1 (8 KOs), while Bogere suffered his first loss and is now 23-1 (15 KOs).

An accidental head-butt in the sixth round opened up a gash above Abril's right eye, but he was not fazed.

"I had confidence in my corner," Abril said. "The blood didn't disrupt me - I am trained for situations like this."

He was docked one point in the eighth round for holding, while Bogere also lost a point in the final round for leading with his head.

"I don't like fighting dirty fighters and I lost my concentration," Abril said. "I thought I won the fight even though it wasn't clean."

In the co-man event, featherweight Gary Russell Jr. remained unbeaten with a 10-round unanimous decision over Vyacheslav Gusev.

Southpaw Russell seemed set for a knockout win after troubling his opponent in the first round then decking him in the third, but suffered a hand injury in the seventh and boxed within himself from that point on.

"I'm not sure if I broke it," Russell said. "I know I was in a lot of pain. Great fighters are willing to make necessary adjustments in the ring."

He is now 22-0 (13KOs).

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