Cuban heavyweight Mike Perez out-fought Russia's Magomed Abdusalamov in New York
Cork-based Cuban Mike Perez kept himself in the heavyweight picture with an battling victory over Magomed Abdusalamov.
Last Updated: 03/11/13 9:54am
Both fighters entered the 10-round contest in New York with unbeaten records - Abdusalamov stopping each of his 18 foes while Perez had gained 11 of 19 wins by KO.
Something had to give both both played their part in one of the most exciting heavyweight fights in recent years.
Perez made a fast start and piled pressure on his opponent with a big left hand getting through late in the session.
Abdusalamov responded in kind in the second and the pair stood and traded as the fight warmed up, and the third was a similar story with both having success.
The Russian had the better of the fourth but Perez was back on top in the fifth, a thudding left hook appearing to damage Abdusalamov's nose and the sixth saw Perez unload more heavy shots as he took control of the fight.
Abdusalamov's bloodied and bruised face told the story of the fight but he rallied well in the next two rounds while Perez also had a cut under the right eye for his troubles.
The Cuban, who back in Limerick once had two fights in one night, was deducted a point for a low blow in the penultimate stanza but the pair continued to tee off on each other to the delight of the crowd.
Perez, who had trained with Gennady Golovkin at Big Bear for the fight, kept up the pace right to the end and appeared to get through with one of his best shots in the closing round to seal victory - the judges scoring it 97-92 twice and 95-94.