Rau’shee Warren (14-1, 4 KOs) earn a bantamweight world championship as he defeated Juan Carlos Payano (17-1, 8 KOs) in a rematch of their August 2015 world title bout.
The three-time Olympian Warren became the first member of the 2012 U.S. team to earn a world title when he was awarded the majority decision over the two-time Dominican Olympian Payano.
Payano was the aggressor throughout the night, as he threw 882 punches to Warren’s 514. While Payano out-landed Warren 162 to 160, it was the new world champion who threw cleaner punches all night on his way to a 31 percent connect rate to Payano’s 18 percent rate.
The southpaws went toe-to-toe again for much of the night, but it was Warren who had more success catching the champion as he lunged in. Payano picked up the aggressiveness as the fight went on, as he battled through a rib injury suffered in the early rounds.
In round 11, Warren was able to seriously stagger Payano early on and won the round on all three judges’ scorecards. In round 12 he had more success early in the round as he opened up a cut under Payano’s right eye. In the end, the judges scored the bout 115-113 for Warren twice and 114-114.
“This feels great. It’s unbelievable. Payano came to put on a great fight but I came out victorious. It was a good fight. If he wants the rematch, we can do it again.
“I was comfortable that I had won the decision. He came to fight and he stayed active. My corner just told me I had to answer back.
“We wanted to make him miss and make him pay. I definitely made him miss a lot. He was just staying busy. I bobbed and weaved. I pressed him enough to where I could take over. Barry Hunter told me I had to take the last round and I got him cut.
“My corner just kept telling me to work. I knew I was in control but I just had to step on the pedal at the right time.
“I want to take it to another level. A third fight could be really big. I want Warren-Payano 3 in Cincinnati. If not I’ll go after all the other champions.”
JUAN CARLOS PAYANO
“I wasn’t able to completely follow my game plan. At moments I was able to do what we trained for, but not enough. I hurt my rib early in the first two rounds and it made it difficult to grab and breathe. I take nothing away from him.
“I was courteous enough to offer the rematch right away and I hope that I get reciprocated the same way.
“Rau’shee was pretty much the same as last time. I fought his pace and I didn’t follow my plan. I wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do and he was able to prevail. I think I gave the fight away and Rau’shee won the fight.”