WBO World Lightweight ruler Terry Flanagan retained his title after stopping Orlando Cruz in the eighth round at the Motorpoint Arena.
Cruz seemed unwilling to throw back throughout a tentative opening few rounds, as Flanagan began to close the gap and land more frequently.
Turbo increased his workrate in the fifth and sixth sessions and sent the Puerto Rican to the canvas twice in the eighth before the ref waved it off.
In front of a noisy Welsh crowd, Liam Williams became the new European Super-Welterweight Champion after stopping Gabor Gorbics in convincing fashion.
The Hungarian was competitive across the first few rounds before Williams began to break him down around the halfway mark.
Williams landed a cracking body shot in the seventh and followed this with another in the following round which sent Gorbics to the canvas, ending the fight.
Also on the card, Tommy Langford and Sam Sheedy fought for the vacant British Middleweight crown, but it was a quiet start to the contest.
Sheedy started as the aggressor as his opponent was happy to box on the backfoot. Langford landed two big shots in the fifth and seventh rounds before Sheedy fired back with a strong body shot.
Into the final round both men were visibly tired, Langford was busier but Sheedy finished the fight with an accurate right hook to ensure the judges had a tough task.
Winning on a split decision (117-113, 113-115 & 116-114), Langford became the new British Champion in Cardiff.
After two draws in their previous encounters, Thomas Stalker and Craig Evans made a thrilling start to their trilogy match for the WBO European Lightweight Title.
Early on, Stalker landed a few strong left hooks but Evans responded well and aimed to work his jab.
‘The Captain’ worked in bunches and kept the pressure up towards the latter stages but Evans was the better boxer on the night, and earned a majority decision with scores of 95-95, 94-96, 92-98.
Also in Cardiff, Kid Galahad continued his comeback by stopping Reynaldo Mora in the third round, after hurting the Nicaraguan with two strong body shots before the ref waved it off.
WBO Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan (31-0 12 KOs) will make the fourth defence of his World title against Puerto Rico’s former World title challenger Orlando Cruz (25-4-1 13 KOs) on Frank Warren’s huge November 26th Motorpoint Arena Cardiff show, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
Welsh fights fans will be treated to an incredible four title fights at the Motorpoint Arena; one World title fight, one British title fight and two European title fights. Big time boxing has well and truly returned to Cardiff.
When Flanagan stopped American challenger Diego Magdaleno in a hail of punches back in October 2015 during the maiden defence of his WBO World Lightweight title, it had taken the Manchester southpaw under six minutes to prove his world class credentials.
Then in March the Steve Maylett trained star retained his WBO crown with a wide points decision over tough as nails Liverpool veteran Derry Mathews in an absorbing arm wrestle of a fight in front of a packed-out Liverpool Echo Arena.
Last time out at the Ice Arena Wales Flanagan successfully made the third defence of his World title against the experienced and tricky Mzonke Fana. South Africa’s Fana provided Flanagan with a stern test but the Ancoats man came away with a unanimous decision win.
Cruz, 35, fought for Puerto Rico at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and ran undefeated for a full nine years before losing to America’s Cornelius Lock by TKO in 2009. During a glittering career Cruz has held the WBO Latino Featherweight and WBO NABO Super-Featherweight titles.
In 2013 Cruz had the opportunity to become the first openly gay World Champion when he challenged Orlando Salido for the Vacant WBO World Featherweight title at the Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas. But he fell short in his first challenge at the highest level as he was out-gunned and overpowered by Salido who was crowned Champion for the third time. Salido went on to beat pound-for-pound Featherweight star Vasyl Lomachenko in his next fight at the Alamodome in Texas.
Undefeated in 31 professional outings, all-action ‘Turbo’ is determined to overcome his latest challenger before setting his sights on a mega-fight in early 2017.
“I’m excited to get out there again and put in a big performance before getting the blockbuster fights that Frank has promised me next year,” said Flanagan. “Last time I fought in Cardiff I wasn’t happy with how I boxed so it will be good to show the Welsh fans that I’m a lot better than I showed against Fana.
“Frank’s delivered everything he promised. He got me a British title, a WBO European title and a WBO World title; I got the opportunity to defend it in my own town and then defend it in someone else’s back yard. I know I’m the best Lightweight in the division and I’m looking to get these big fights to prove it.
“I do what I need to get the win but if I feel the stoppage is there I’ll go for it. Cruz is a strong fighter and very dangerous and more than capable of causing an upset. I’m out to prove a point and show everyone that I’m world class. Linares in seen as number one in the division after beating Crolla and it would be good to get that fight and do something that Crolla couldn’t do to prove I’m the best around.”