Ilunga Makabu not only retained his WBC cruiserweight title against Thabiso Mchunu – but also the hope that he may face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez next.
Makabu beat his old adversary in a rematch from their 2015 bout which the champion won by knockout in the 11th round.
At the Packard Music Hall in Warren, Ohio last night the 34-year-old was awarded the split decision verdict but not without controversy. Mchunu took control of the rounds as the fight settled and to many had done enough to get the nod having not only hurt Makabu more than once but produced the superior boxing performance. Had the whiff of a Canelo fight not been in the air then a trilogy fight could have been put forward as an argument instead of crossing fingers that the Mexican moves up to cruiserweight.
Canelo and Makabu appeared to agree a fight late last year for the undisputed super-middleweight champion to move to 200lbs. But rumours of challenges mounting at 168lbs and 175lbs are gathering pace.
On the undercard Trevor Bryan seemingly booked a ticket to London to fight mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois next after retaining his WBA heavyweight title. Just like Makabu, the unbeaten New Yorker was given a split decision win over Jonathan Guidry. The challenger was put down in the final round which sealed a deserved win for Bryan.