Home Depot Center, Carson, California - Leo Santa Cruz (20-0-1, 11KOs) won a twelve round unanimous decision over Vusi Malinga (20-4-1, 12KOs) to capture the vacant IBF bantamweight title. The scores were 119-109, 120-108, 120-108. The belt was vacated when Abner Mares moved up in weight.
The fight started at a very fast pace. Santa Cruz landed the harder and the sharper punches. Malinga refused to take a step back and went shot for shot with the younger puncher.
Malinga faded little by little as the fight played out and he took some deadly shots to the body in the seventh. In the eight round, Malinga was once again hurt to the body with hard hooks and he was being punished with shots to the head.
Even though he took a significant amount of punches in the second half of the fight, Malinga continued to come forward and he never went away until the final bell.