Keith Thurman successfully defended his WBA Interim Welterweight Championship on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., stopping former world champion Julio Diaz after the third round when his corner threw in the towel, citing a rib injury.
Thurman (23-0, 21 KO) dropped Diaz in Round 2 and seemed well on his way to an impressive victory in his first fight as a headliner.
But Diaz (40-10-1, 29 KO) wasn’t willing to go down without a fight, even seeming to buzz Thurman a bit in Round 3 before getting caught with a body shot that caused the injury and halted the fight.
In the co-featured bout of the evening, Lucas Matthysse returned to the ring for the first time since his loss to Danny Garcia last September, rallying from two early knockdowns to finally stop John Molina in Round 11 of a bloody and absolutely brutal affair.
Matthysse (35-3, 33 KO) was down in Rounds 2 and 5—the second seemingly the result of a punch behind the head—and badly cut above his left eye from a headbutt that also opened a massive gash behind Molina’s head.
Despite the knockdowns, “The Machine” was dominant in most rounds, landing massive, almost scary shots at will to Molina’s head.
Molina, who lost a tremendous amount of blood from the horrific cut behind his left ear, took them well for the most part, but he was dropped in Rounds 8, 10 and 11, the last of which forcing referee Pat Russell to mercifully wave off the contest.
In the opening contest of the evening, Omar Figueroa retained his WBC Lightweight Championship with a split-decision victory over Jerry Belmontes.
Scores were 116-112 and 118-110 for Figueroa and 115-113 for Belmontes.
Bleacher Report scored the contest 115-113 for Belmontes.
Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KO) looked lost at times in the fight, struggling with Belmontes’ (19-4, 5 KO) style. The challenger was determined, particularly over the second half of the fight, to box and move, giving the champion few opportunities to unload.
But Figueroa was more active over the course of the fight, and that proved to be the decisive factor.