Undefeated Colombian 122-pound standout Johnathan Romero earned the vacant IBF junior featherweight title with a hard-fought split decision over Alejandro Lopez in Lopez’s hometown of Tijuana, Mexico, on Saturday.
The UniMas-televised bout was hotly contested for all 12 rounds but Romero (23-0, 12 knockouts) was the more accurate puncher — particularly with his jab and right hand — and often the aggressor in what was sometimes a rough-and-tumble contest. Romero, who won by scores of 116-111, 115-112, 112-115, was docked a point by referee Gino Rodriguez in the 12th round for roughhouse tactics.
Lopez (24-3, 7 KOs) had his moments throughout the fight and appeared to rock Romero in the 11th round, but he was unable to impose his will on the rangy 26-year-old boxer-brawler from Colombia. The loss snapped a four-bout win streak for the 25-year-old Tijuana native.
In the co-featured bout of the broadcast, Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. scored the biggest victory of his three-year pro career by knocking out fellow unbeaten bantamweight prospect Hanzel Martinez in the second round of a their scheduled 10-round bout.
Gonzalez (16-0-2, 11 KOs), the 19-year-old son of former WBC featherweight titleholder Alejandro Gonzalez, clipped Martinez with a counter hook at the start of the second round and dropped the Antonio Margarito-managed volume puncher hard with a follow up hook.
Martinez (19-1, 15 KOs), a popular 21-year-old Tijuana native, struggled to get up on wobbly legs but the fight was waved off by referee Jose Cobian 41 seconds into the round.