Miguel Berchelt retained his WBC world title Saturday with a unanimous decision over former champion Takashi Miura in the first defence of his super featherweight belt.
Mexico's Berchelt won almost every round and it showed on the lopsided scorecards but the unflinching Miura fought on pride and looked like he could have knocked the champion out at any moment.
"I was prepared because I knew I was facing an ex champion," said Berchelt. "He has the toughest left hand in the division. He was hitting me and hurting me sometimes. But I was always the better fighter."
The judges scored the fight 116-111, 120-109 and 119-108 for the 33-year-old Berchelt who won the title with an 11th round upset victory over Francisco Vargas in January.
Japan's Miura (31-4-2, 24 KOs) was hoping to reclaim the WBC title which he held for more than two years before losing to Vargas in 2015.
Berchelt set the tone early in the 12-round clash as he rocked Miura with a hard punch in the fifth round that snapped the challenger's head back at the Forum arena in south central Los Angeles.
Down on points heading into the sixth round, Miura went looking for the knockout and it didn't seem like a bad strategy for the Japanese dynamo who had 24 career knockouts coming into the bout.
But Berchelt's defence was too strong and his plan to land a mixture of head and body shots allowed him to score ample points with the judges.
Miura took the fight to Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) in the seventh round as the Mexican appeared to tire, pawing at him instead of landing solid blows like earlier in the bout.
Berchelt also had to deal the non-stop attack of Miura, who despite taking a massive amount of punishment to the head and body, wouldn't yield an inch.
Berchelt wobbled Miura in the eighth with a left hook but he couldn't finish him off.
Miura showed he has a steel chin and still had an opportunity to win the fight heading into the 11th round but only if he could score a knockout against Berchelt, who was in excellent condition.
"I knew this fight was going to be won with intelligence," Berchelt said. "Miura is a warrior, and fought till the end. Miura has the toughest left hand in the division. He kept coming forward, and when he connected his punches, they did hurt. I knew I was going to fight an ex-world champion, so I prepared myself well. I have proven that I am the best by taking on the two toughest champions in the division with Vargas and Miura. I am ready to fight anyone."