Javier Fortuna is now the WBA Featherweight Champion…
The 22-year-old Dominican (21-0, 15 KOs) handily outpointed Ireland’s Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12 KOs) in a scrappy fight to win a vacant interim title.
The fight drew rants from the crowd due to its uneven action, but Fortuna managed to keep up a steady pace of punches while Ireland’s Hyland — who is promoted by “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi — wasn’t able to really do much with his much faster opponent.
Fortuna won 118-110, 116-112 and a surprisingly close 115-113. ESPN.com scored it for Fortuna, 119-109.
“I thought I would get a pretty easy knockout, but I underestimated Hyland and it turned out to be a more difficult fight than I thought it would be,” Fortuna said through a translator.
Fortuna is a southpaw whose style resembles that of middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, his stablemate. Fortuna likes to mimic Martinez by carrying his hands low and also leans in with his head, using his quickness to avoid punches.
Unable to deal with Fortuna’s quick hands, Hyland tried to make it a street fight. He was warned for low blows in the third round. In the ninth round, he threw Fortuna to the canvas and easily could have been docked a point by referee Russell Mora. Fortuna tweaked his right shoulder when he was thrown down. Later in the round, Hyland doubled over Fortuna with a low blow that earned him warning.
“It was a good scrap,” Hyland said. “He didn’t hit as hard as everyone said he would hit me and he kept running the last few rounds. People were making him out to be the next best thing, but he is still a kid and he needs to mature a little bit.”
Fortuna, one of boxing’s top prospects, had been very impressive in his other two 2012 fights, a first-round destruction of previously undefeated Yuandale Evans in April and a second-round stoppage of former featherweight titlist Cristobal Cruz.