Ray Beltran wins WBO Lightweight Championship
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: February 17, 2018
RENO, NEVADA - At the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada longtime lightweight contender Ray Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) won the vacant WBO lightweight world championship with a unanimous decision victory over Namibia’s Paulus Moses (40-4, 25 KOs). Moses had the opportunity to become the oldest lightweight champion in boxing history with a victory over Beltran. The Namibian native is best known for being the WBA lightweight champion in 2009-2010 and losing a unanimous decision in 2012 to Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight title.
The bout was action-packed from the beginning with both men exchanging punches in the middle of the ring. Beltran was able to land right hands up top while digging to the body throughout the bout. In the fifth round, Beltran was able to hurt Moses with a well-timed right hand. By the end of the fifth, Moses began to have more success in exchanges with Beltran. The momentum in the bout favored Moses with him having the advantage in several rounds.
In the championship rounds, Beltran picked up the pace, as it seemed that Moses began to tire. Beltran’s vaulted body attack in the fight paid dividends in the final rounds allowing him to outwork Moses in many instances. When the final bell rang signifying the end of the contest, it was unclear as to who would be awarded the victory and championship.
The judges scored the fight for Beltran with scores of 117-111 twice and 116-112. The punch stats represented how close the matchup was. Beltran landed 197 out of 678 total punches at a 29 percent connect rate. Moses landed 159 out of 622 total punches at a 26 percent connect rate.
The bout was close enough to warrant a rematch, and with it being an action-packed from start to finish, a rematch would be welcomed. However, Beltran may be next in line to face WBO 130-pound champion Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko looks to make his lightweight debut this year.
(Feature Photo: Top Rank Boxing)