In a Light Heavyweight showdown, Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) came back from a knockdown to score a 10-round unanimous decision over Felix Valera (15-2, 13 KOs) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
All three judges scored the bout 98-88, 97-90, 97-89 in favor of the WBA No.1 ranked contender. With the victory, Barrera became the mandatory challenger for Dmitry Bivol’s WBA light heavyweight title.
“It was a tough, awkward fight,” said Barrera. “I have beaten two of the three light heavyweights shown on HBO. I’m just waiting to finally get the opportunity I deserve.”
Valera dropped Barrera with a hard left hook then scored Barrera scored a knockdown of his own at the end of Round 1. From then on, Barrera outboxed Valera, catching him with good body shots and right hooks.
With both fighters exchanging vicious shots, Valera would taunt and showboat at times. Barrera was unfazed by the antics and continued put his boxing skills on display.
Barrera started to bleed from a cut above his left in Round 2. As Valera began to look for the knockout, he would drop his hands at times. After low blows in the third, sixth and eighth rounds, Valera was deducted a total of three points.
Barrera landed good body shot followed by a right hook in Round 7 and continued the pressure. Valera landed big left hook in the tenth round but a straight right hand by Barrera rocked Valera.
Barrera was deducted one point for a low blow in the ninth round.
The only career loss for Barrera was last year to recently retired former two-time Super Middleweight and unified Light Heavyweight world champion, Andre Ward.
Header photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing