Santa Cruz keeps featherweight title

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight title on Saturday night, dominating compatriot Rafael Rivera to win by unanimous 12-round decision.

All three judges gave Santa Cruz the victory by scores of 119-109 as the champion improved to 36-1-1, marking the third defence in his second reign in the division.

“I tried to give my best. I did what I could,” Santa Cruz said. “I’d like to give a lot better but Rafael is pretty good. It was a tough fight.”

Santa Cruz took inspiration from his father and trainer Jose Santa Cruz, who is battling bone marrow cancer.

“It means the world to me (to have my father in my corner),” Santa Cruz said. “When I climb in the ring, I don’t want to let my dad down. I want to inspire him to keep fighting the cancer.”