WBO featherweight king Emanuel Navarrete scored a bloody, hard-fought points decision over Californian challenger Joet Gonzalez at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego on Friday night.

Scores were 118-110 and 116-112 (twice) in favour of the all-action Mexican champion in a pleasing 12-round rumble.

“It was a very close fight but I think the difference between us was conditioning,” admitted Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs) afterwards.

“Without a doubt, I hurt him, but every single time he came back, and he also hurt me. A couple shots he landed hurt me during the fight. It has been an exciting ride so far and, from now on, I want the bigger fights.”

Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KOs) dug in gamely after suffering a cut and swollen right eye from the second round, withstanding a feverish punch output from Navarrete who threw 979 blows including 104 in a hell-for-leather last round.

The Californian played full part in the warfare, staggering Navarrete with a right hand in the fourth and meeting fire with fire. Navarrete’s tremendous punch output rarely missed a beat but Gonzalez met him head on, despite being cautioned for low blows in the eighth and 10th rounds.

After a terrific effort, the challenger was surprised by the scorecards. “I thought I had it seven rounds to five, eight rounds to four. I was really surprised by that score of 118-110, I believe. But it is what it is and I did my best,” said Gonzalez.

Ultimately, Navarrete’s industry and incision proved the difference.

Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.