Boxing


Antonio Pitalua Stops Jose Armando Santa Cruz In Six Rounds To Claim WBC Interim Lightweight Title

by James Slater - Last night, at The Arena Coliseo, Mexico, 38-year-old Colombian Antonio Pitalua won himself the interim version of the WBC lightweight title with an impressive 6th round stoppage of the much younger Jose Armando Santa Cruz of Mexico. Pitalua put the 28-year-old down in round number 4, before putting him out for good in the 6th. The official time was two minutes and 50-seconds of the 6th. The title, the interim version that is, was on the line because "real" champ Many Pacquiao has his welterweight mega fight with Oscar De La Hoya coming up..

The new interim champ improved to 46-3(40). Santa Cruz fell to 26-4(15).

38-year-old Pitalua, who lives in Mexico, has been a pro for a very long time, as his age would suggest. Making his debut way back in 1992, in Mexico, Pitalua has boxed as high as light-welterweight before, but last night's win was by far his best performance and against his most prominent name. Indeed, capturing a world title, even an interim version of one, when aged almost 40-years-of-age, is quite an achievement in itself. The fact that the Colombian stopped Santa Cruz quicker than anyone else ever has is even more so. Santa Cruz, remember, is the guy who almost everyone thought beat the great Joel Casamayor in November of last year, while in his other two previous defeats he was stopped in the 10th round by David Diaz and again in the 10th by Fernando Trejo. For Pitalua to have wiped him out inside six rounds, the Colombian sure made a statement.

A good puncher, as his 40 KO's show, Pitalua had himself been stopped just once previously. Losing by 7th round TKO to Jesus Rodriguez in 1995, the veteran is a battle hardened warrior. But last night's fight marked his first really big fight. He did lose a decision in Germany to southpaw Artur Grigorian in a WBO lightweight title fight back in 2000, but now at last Pitalua is where he wants to be. So, what next for him?

Apparently, the word is Pitalua will make his first defence, later this year, against the murderous punching WBA super-featherweight champion Edwin Valero. This is according to WBC boss Jose Sulaiman, and this would be some tough first defence for the 38-year-old. 26-year-old Valero, who has won every single one of his 24 fights by KO, is one lethal southpaw, and even though he has never boxed up at lightweight he will likely carry his power up with him when he does.

No date or venue has been agreed yet, but with Valero now being allowed to box inside the U.S when he hadn't been previously allowed because of his well documented failing of an MRI scan a few years ago, the bout with Pitalua could happen almost anywhere.

Sure, it will be some rough ride for the new champ (you would think so anyway, but Valero, despite his frightening punch power, is still unproven in some eyes), but it will be one exciting match-up. For the time being, Pitalua can enjoy being a world champion; he has earned it.

Article posted on 21.09.2008



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