Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas - In FOX televised opener former super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (19-1, 13) and Mexico’s Julio Ceja (32-4, 28 KOs) stood in the pocket and fought a close-quarters battle, neither giving an inch. (photos by Andy Samuelson, Sean Michael Ham).
Eventually, that strategy did not play well for Ceja. Rigondeaux, a former Cuban Olympian, ended matters at 2:59 of the eighth round with a powerful left hook that detonated on Ceja’s chin to score a TKO victory in the WBC super bantamweight title elimination match.
Rigondeaux’s punch landed cleanly, sending Ceja backwards on the seat of his pants. He got up to beat the count, but referee Russell Moore took one look into Ceja’s eyes, which were crossed, and waved off the fight to give Rigondeaux a thrilling victory.
With the win Rigondeaux gets a chance to climb back into the championship ranks. He is in line to fight the winner of the WBC super bantamweight title match between Rey Vargas and Tomoki Kameda.
Ceja rocked Rigondeaux with a pinpoint four-punch combination to the head in the sixth round. But Rigondeaux recovered quickly and fired his own combination. The back-and-forth action was so fierce that Moore took away a point from both Rigondeaux and Ceja for low blows during an exchange in the seventh round.