Garcia becomes four-weight world champion

Mikey Garcia moved into the history books by beating Sergey Lipinets on points to become a world champion at four different weights.

The unbeaten Californian had the IBF super-lightweight champion down in the seventh round and dominated large parts of the showdown in San Antonio, Texas, before securing the 116-111, 117-110, 117-110 result.

It means ‘Mikey’ now joins Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as the only other fighters to win world titles at featherweight, super-featherweight, lightweight and super-lightweight.

“It’s a great feeling. Winning this fourth title in a fourth division is an honour,” he said.

“To get to be mentioned with Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is a huge honour for me. It just leaves a little chapter in boxing with my name, my brother, my dad.

“I think people will remember the Garcia family for ages to come.”

Lipinets, whose injury forced the initial fight date to be pushed back, put his defeat down to his inexperience, giving up the IBF belt in only his 14th professional fight.

Garcia wasted little time handing out a harsh lesson though, firing his jab home from the start and then introducing a left-right one-two that caused the Russian huge problems.

But it was not one-way traffic, the game Lipinets was constantly on the front foot and it wasn’t until the fourth that ‘Mikey’ really stamped his authority on proceedings.

His left-hook started to catch Lipinets on his way in, before the one-two – ending with a sizzling right overhand – curbed Lipinets’ aggressive gameplan.

Lipinets had very good fifth and sixth rounds but the fight turned in Garcia’s favour in the seventh, the left-hook landing flush on the champion’s face and putting him on the seat of his pants.

Lipinets tried to respond but it took him most of the next round to fully recover and even though Garcia seemed to ease off, he not only won the next round but wowed the Freeman Coliseum with a varied rapid-fire onslaught.

Garcia and Lipinets threw everything into the final round, both were caught by lefts and emerged marked up and bleeding.

But Garcia had done enough to earn the decision by a comfortable margin, living up to the expectations that will now surely grow.

Rances Barthelemy failed to do the same, losing his rematch with Kiryl Relikh on points and missing out on the chance to become Cuba’s first three-weight world champion.

Barthelemy won their first meeting in May 2017 with a controversially-wide unanimous decision, but with the vacant WBA ‘World’ super-lightweight title up for grabs, the tables were turned.

Relikh was always forcing the issue and despite the Cuban’s late charge, the 118-109, 118-109, 117-110 scoring saw the ‘Mad Bee’ become Belarus’ first professional world champion.

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