All photos by Chris Coduto – Hoganphotos/GBP

Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) earned a tough unanimous-decision victory against former two-time interim WBA Super Lightweight champion Johan Perez (22-4, 15 KOs) in the latest edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday night.

The victory gave Ali the vacant WBA Intercontinental Welterweight title and his third straight win since losing to Jessie Vargas in March of 2016.

Ali said these kind of fights are exactly what he needs to get back into title contention.

“I need rugged fights like this,” said Ali. “Johan might not be a big name, but he came to fight, and not only for a paycheck.”

Ali was making Perez miss but not making him pay with counters. However, in Round 3, Ali dropped Perez with a straight right hand. His punch got there quicker.

Perez kept coming forward and putting pressure on Ali. Cuts to both fighters were created by a couple of head clashes.

Ali wasn’t too happy with his performance after the fight and added that his movement wasn’t right.

“I felt slow and off balance,” said Ali. “I don’t want to make excuses but my performance was not as good as I expected.”

Ali said if he fought this way against elite fighters, he knows he would lose.

“Now it’s time to go back to the gym and work on things I need to work on,” said Ali. “That’s how I get better, by seeing my mistakes and getting back to work in the gym.”