The unbeaten American Devon Alexander stopped Juan Urango in the eighth round to unify the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council light-welterweight titles on Saturday. Benjy Esteves, the referee, stopped the fight 1min 12secs into the eighth round after a pair of uppercuts by Alexander, 22, sent Colombia's Urango to his first defeat inside the distance of his career. Alexander has now won all 20 of his fights, with this his 13th victory inside the distance while Urango fell to 22-3 with one drawn.
"Speed kills anything," Alexander said. "I knew he was a brawler, that he would keep coming. I knew if I didn't stand in front of him I would be the champion. He didn't hurt me at all." Alexander stopped Britain's Junior Witter to claim the vacant WBC title in August last year, the same month that Urango returned to the light welterweight ranks with an 11th-round stoppage of the American Randall Bailey for the IBF crown.
The only prior defeats for the 29-year-old Urango were to the former champion, Ricky Hatton of Britain in 2007 and the reigning welterweight title holder, Andre Berto in May. Alexander used footwork and effective jabs to seize command. Although Urango scored well at times with right hooks, Alexander stayed with his tactics and pressed his advantage. Alexander opened a cut above Urango's left eye in round two, but stayed patient rather than risk getting into a flurry with the hard-punching Colombian.
"When I see blood, I want to go for it, but I stayed focused, stuck to the game plan and now I'm the IBF champion," Alexander said. "I can beat anybody." * With agencies