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Vargas edges Allakhverdiev for 140-lb title

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Jessie Vargas claimed the WBA 140-pound title with a narrow unanimous decision over Khabib Allakhverdiev on Saturday night on the undercard of Manny Pacqcuiao's rematch with Timothy Bradley.

Ray Beltran easily outpointed Arash Usmanee at the MGM Grand Garden, while Bryan Vasquez edged Jose Felix in a 130-pound bout.

In a meeting of previously unbeaten fighters, Vargas (24-0) squeaked out a decision in a tough technical fight in his hometown, beating his Dagestani-born Russian opponent by scores of 115-113, 117-111 and 115-113.

Allakhverdiev (19-1) appeared to control the early rounds, but took significant damage to both eyes during the fight. With his right eye swollen and a serious cut on his left eye from an accidental head-butt in the eighth round, Allakhverdiev allowed Vargas back into the bout before dominating the 12th, but not doing enough to win.

''I want a rematch, and I want it right away,'' said Allakhverdiev, who won the belt in November 2012 and defended it last year in Monte Carlo. ''I won that fight.''

The durable, crowd-pleasing Beltran (29-6-1) easily outclassed his Canadian opponent to improve to 4-0-1 in his last five bouts. He still got a game challenge from Usmanee (20-2-1), a late replacement for Rocky Martinez after the ex-champion pulled out of the bout several days ago with an illness.

''This was one of my greatest fights ever,'' Beltran said. ''A change of opponents and an awkward opponent, but my hook and my body shots were the difference.''

Costa Rica's Vasquez looked solid in his U.S. debut, narrowly outpointing Felix in a foul-filled bout. Felix (26-1-1) lost a point for low blows in the ninth round, and it turned the fight from a majority draw into a unanimous decision for Vasquez (34-1).

Three 2012 Olympians won in the card's early fights: Mexico's Oscar Valdez, Brazil's Esquiva Falcao and Ukraine's Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who punctuated his pro debut with a one-punch knockout in the first round.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
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