The lost interest in Saturday’s fight card resulting from a canceled main event did not apply to Humberto Soto and Urbano Antillon, who staged a stirring world lightweight title bout at the Honda Center.
Soto, relying on his ability to strike the challenger with barrages, made his third successful title defense by outlasting Maywood’s Antillon in a close unanimous decision.
Soto (54-7-2) weathered the tough, charging Antillon (28-2) even as the champion’s legs weakened in the final rounds, claiming victory by scores of 114-113 twice (Alejandro Rochin and Alan Krebs) and 115-112 (Marty Denkin).
“I had to give everything I had; he made me keep working,” Soto said.
Afterward, promoter Bob Arum said the title fight was so riveting that he will schedule a lightweight title doubleheader early next year pitting Soto against Oxnard’s Brandon Rios and Antillon against International Boxing Federation champion Miguel Vazquez.
The night, defused by the loss of a scheduled Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Alfonso Gomez main event, also belonged to Nonito Donaire.
The “Filipino Flash” provided all the hype needed to sell his looming February showdown against bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel, defeating former bantamweight champion Wladimir Sidorenko with a fourth-round technical knockout. The move up in weight clearly agrees with Donaire, the former world flyweight champion best known for his upset of Vic Darchinyan in 2007.
“The Darchinyan fight was one punch,” Donaire (25-1, 17 knockouts) said. “This was, by far, my best performance as a fighter. … You can’t hit what you can’t catch, and I proved I can carry my power in this weight class.”
Donaire, 28, knocked Sidorenko down in the first and third rounds, bloodying the Ukraine fighter’s nose, bruising the right side of his face and then cutting the left side of his head in the decisive fourth.
A hard right hand by Donaire staggered Sidorenko, who fell to his right knee and peered up at referee Marcos Rosales in desperation before the bout was stopped at the 1:48 mark.
Oxnard featherweight Mikey Garcia also improved to 24-0 with 20 knockouts by overwhelming Canada’s Olivier Lontchi in a fifth-round knockout.
In the undercard bout pitting the replacements for the original main event, Polish middleweight Pawel Wolak shrugged off a second-round knockdown by Mexico’s Jose Pinzon and won by TKO in the seventh.