Oscar Rivas carved his name in boxing history by becoming the sport’s first ever champion in its 18th weight division.
Rivas outlasted a spirited Ryan Rozicki to claim the vacant WBC bridgerweight title at the Olympia Theatre in Montreal, Canada, on Friday night.
Scores were 116-111 and 115-112 (twice) in the new 224lbs division lodged between cruiserweight and heavyweight.
Rozicki had taken the fight at just three weeks’ notice after previous co-challenger Bryant Jennings withdrew due to concerns about local Covid-19 vaccination protocols.
Montreal-based Colombian Rivas applied early aggression but Rozicki gradually founding his footing after being rocked by a left hook in the opening round.
As Rivas took a breather after a whirlwind opening, Rozicki (13-1, 13 KOs) asserted himself in the contest with a series of stinging overhand rights.
Rivas came back with a stout body attack in the middle rounds as Nova Scotia’s aggressive Rozicki shrugged off the effects of a bloody nose. The Colombian employed a solid jab to box from the outside and conserve his apparent lead in the second half of the contest.
To his credit, career cruiserweight Rozicki pressed in the final stages of the fight but was hurt by an overhand right, left hook and right uppercut late in the 11th before regaining his faculties. Rivas (28-1, 19 KOs) was deducted a point in the last, but that wasn’t enough to derail his historic victory.
Main image: WBC.