Americans Spence, Roman defend boxing crowns

Errol Spence Jr., pictured in January 2018, will face Carlos Ocampo, 22-0 with 13 knockouts
AFP

Washington (AFP) – Two American fighters, unbeaten welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and super bantamweight champion Danny Roman, defend their world titles against undefeated Mexican challengers Saturday at Dallas.

The card at The Star, headquarters of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, features a battle of unbeaten fighters, hometown hero Spence, the International Boxing Federation champion at 23-0 with 20 knockouts, and Carlos Ocampo, 22-0 with 13 knockouts.

“This has been a lifelong dream of mine,” Spence said. “I can’t wait to fight in front of my hometown fans. I don’t think there’s any extra pressure fighting in my hometown. It’s just added motivation.”

Topping the undercard will be World Boxing Association super bantamweight champion Roman, 24-2 with one drawn and nine knockouts, against Moises Flores, 25-0 with 17 knockouts.

Southpaw Spence has not been taken the distance in four years, winning 10 stoppages in a row, including last year’s knockout of Kell Brook before his home fans in England and January’s stoppage of American Lamont Peterson in his most recent fight and first defending of the crown.

“I do believe I’m the best welterweight in boxing right now. I’ve been trying to prove it for a long time,” Spence said. “I’m ready to fight the best in the division and prove I reign supreme over all of them.”

Spence hopes to fight the winner of the vacant World Boxing Council welterweight championship decider in August between Americans Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. He predicted a Garcia triumph.

“I think Danny Garcia could pull it out,” Spence said. “He doesn’t do anything spectacular but he has great timing, good fundamentals. Whenever we think he’s going to lose the fight, he ends up winning so I’ll go with Danny Garcia on that one, by decision.”

Ocampo, who stopped countryman Dario Ferman last November in his most recent start, fights outside his homeland for the first time in his first world title bout.

Roman, 28, makes his second title defense also, coming off a unanimous decision win over Ryo Matsumoto at Tokyo four months ago. He won the crown by stopping Shun Kubo last September in Japan and carries a 16-fight win streak into the bout.

“I want to fight the best and Flores is right up there,” Roman said. “He’s unbeaten for a reason and he’s the number one challenger for my title. I’m not taking him lightly. I’m motivated to be great. I’m more focused now than ever before. I’m not going to let Flores, or anyone else take my belt.”

Flores, 31, comes off a no contest title bout a year ago against Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux. Flores was knocked out at the end of the first round but a review of the bout ruled the blow was landed after the bell ending the round so the result was changed to no contest.

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