Los Angeles (AFP) – Unbeaten Caleb Plant won his first world title on Sunday, beating champion Jose Uzcategui by a unanimous decision in a International Boxing Federation world super middleweight fight.
American Plant knocked Uzcategui down twice as he dominated the early rounds then faded over the last few but managed to hold on for the crown at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Heading into the bout, Plant said he was fighting in memory of his 19-month-old daughter, Alia, who died in 2015. She was born with a medical condition that causes seizures.
A tearful Plant was overcome by emotion after the win.
“I have worked my life, 17 years for this,” said Plant. “I buried my daughter in the process to get this belt.”
Venezuelan Uzcategui was defending his title for the first time after inheriting it in July.
Britain’s James DeGale vacated the IBF title six months ago to pursue bigger-money fights than his mandated bout against Uzcategui.
Plant, 26, improved to 18-0 with 10 knockouts while Uzcategui dropped to 27-3 with 23 knockouts.
Plant knocked the champion down in the second and fourth rounds.
This was the first time Plant had fought for a world title and just the second time he has gone the full 12 rounds. Last February he earned a 12-round decision against Mexico’s Rogelio Medina.
WBC titleholder David Benavidez congratulated the two on social media but quickly added, “Good entertaining fight, but NONE of this guys are on my Level.”