Maurice Hooker defends WBO title with wide points win over Mikkel LesPierre in New York

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Maurice Hooker vowed to fight Jack Catterall after retaining WBO belt

Maurice Hooker defended his WBO super-lightweight title with a unanimous decision win over Mikkel LesPierre in New York on Saturday night.

The WBO champion floored LesPierre in the ninth round as he controlled the fight throughout to earn victory with scores of 120-107, 119-108 and 118-109 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona.

Hooker had struggled to make the 10st limit at Friday's weigh-in, but declared afterwards that he was willing to defend the belt against Britain's Jack Catterall.

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Hooker landed a brutal body shot on Mikkel LesPierre in the ninth round

Sticking out a stiff jab, Hooker's sizeable reach advantage was on show from the early rounds, and he gradually added more spite to his punches.

LesPierre was hurt by a sustained assault from Hooker in the fifth, with the bell sounding after the challenger had been troubled by a big right hand.

Maurice Hooker
Image: The WBO champion showed his class against LesPierre

A stoppage had seemed likely when LesPierre was dropped by a body shot in the ninth, but the Brooklyn-based fighter fired back defiantly until the end of the round, and bravely held off Hooker until the final bell.

Earlier in the evening, heavyweight Sergey Kuzmin laboured to a split decision victory over Joey Dawejko.

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Sergey Kuzmin
Image: Sergey Kuzmin was relieved to receive a points victory

The Russian struggled to contain his spirited challenger and needed a strong finish to secure a narrow 96-94 verdict from two of the judges, with the third official scoring it a draw.

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