Last night at DIVS Arena in Ekaterinburg, Russia, WBO middleweight king Dmitry Pirog kept hold of his title in a tougher than expected defense against Argentina's Javier Francisco Maciel.
Maciel had come into the clash without ever having fought outside of his homeland but the 26 year old showed no signs at all at being at a disadvantage for having to engage Pirog in hostile territory.
Pirog was the busier fighter in the early rounds as Maciel took a largely defensive stance, picking off a lot of the champion's efforts behind a tight, high glove guard but Pirog was able to find success early to the body.
In the third, Maciel suddenly came to life and caught the champion by surprise with an assault that mixed body shots with short punches to the head, sweeping the round.
The Russian regained control by the next frame as Maciel again went defensive until backing up Pirog at round's end with a two handed barrage. The next few rounds featured back and forth action but Pirog outworked the challenger, who is picking his spots well, just not enough activity.
The challenger upped his efforts in the seventh and eighth, pushing the champion back behind a stiff body attack coupled with smart defense that kept Pirog from gaining momentum.
Pirog wrestled control away from Maciel again as he backed up the challenger with a higher work rate but Maciel remained difficult with his pattern of unexpected offense that seems to catch the champion off guard.
Pirog lost a point in the tenth for continued use of the shoulder but perhaps aware that the bout was now a very close affair, increased his pressure on Maciel.
The challenger, who had never been past ten frames in his career, was clearly lagging in energy over the last two rounds as Pirog stepped up his own efforts to prevent Maciel from developing a final surge.
After the 12th round was completed, Pirog was declared the winner by unanimous decision 117-111, 115-111 and 115-112.
Pirog's record now stands at 18-0 (14), with a first WBO title defense under his belt. After a brave effort, Maciel sees a seven bout win streak snapped, falling to 18-2 (12).
The best clash on the card was a hard fought Interim WBO Asia Pacific lightweight contest won by Alisher Rahimov, 22-0 (11), over Rustam Nugaev, 21-6-1 (12), via scores of 118-112, 118-113 and 116-112.
Cruiserweight Isa Akberbayev, 7-0 (4), halted Pascal Ndomba, 9-3-2 (7), in the second for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council title while welterweight Felix Diaz, 9-0 (6), finished off Andrey Berdyshev, 5-1 (1), in the third of a scheduled eight.
Heavyweight prospect Vyacheslav Glazkov, 9-0 (6), outboxed veteran Denis Bakhtov, 33-6 (22), over eight rounds.
Boxing News Tags: Alisher Rahimov, Andrey Berdyshev, Argentina, Asia, Boxing, Cruiserweight, Denis Bakhtov, DIVS, Dmitry Pirog, Felix Diaz, Javier Francisco Maciel, Pascal Ndomba, Result, Russia, Rustam Nugaev, Vyacheslav Glazkov, WBC, WBO