Rodriguez retains IBF bantamweight belt

Boxing gloves (File)
Boxing gloves (File)

Miami - Unbeaten Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez retained his International Boxing Federation bantamweight world title on Saturday with a 12-round split decision over previously undefeated Australian Jason Moloney in Orlando, Florida.

Two judges scored the bout 115-113 for Rodriguez, who improved to 19-0 with 12 knockouts. A third judge gave it to Moloney by the same score, but the Aussie fell to 17-1 with 14 knockouts.

The bout was part of the bantamweight World Boxing Super Series, with the victory sending Rodriguez into a clash with Japan's Naoya Inoue.

In other world title action stateside on Saturday, Demetrius Andrade won the vacant World Boxing Organization middleweight crown with a punishing 12-round unanimous decision over Walter Kautondokwa of Namibia in Boston.

Kautondokwa was a late replacement for British southpaw Billy Joe Saunders, who tested positive for a banned stimulant in August.

The WBO said Saunders voluntarily vacated the title after the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission declined to give him a license at an October hearing.

Andrade knocked down Kautondokwa four times in the first four rounds en route to the victory, improving to 26-0 with 16 knockouts.

Two judges scored the fight 120-104 for Andrade while the third saw it 119-105.

Kautondokwa fell to 17-1 with 16 knockouts.

On the same card, Tevin Farmer retained his IBF super-featherweight world title with a spectacular fifth-round technical knockout of Northern Ireland's James Tennyson.

Southpaw Farmer dominated early, dropping Tennyson with a left to the body in the fourth.

One round later Farmer connected with a series of brutal body shots to put Tennyson down again and the fight was waved off.

"Who's the puncher, now?" crowed Farmer, who improved to 27-4 with one drawn and six knockouts and immediately reiterated his call for shot at unbeaten World Boxing Association title holder Gervonta Davis, who boasts a record of 20-0 with 19 knockouts.

Tennyson, in his first world title tilt, fell to 22-3 with 18 wins inside the distance.

In Las Vegas, US middleweight Rob Brant dethroned WBA "regular" world champion Ryota Murata of Japan with a lopsided unanimous decision.

Two judges gave the fight to Brant by a score of 119-109 while the third saw it 118-110 for the American, who improved to 24-1 with 16 knockouts as he seized the title held by Murata - which is one rung lower the WBA's "super" world middleweight title held by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez of Mexico.

Murata fell to 14-2 with 11 wins inside the distance.

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