Errol Spence
Shawn Porter, left, and Errol Spence Jr exchange punches during the WBC & IBF World Welterweight Championship boxing match in Los Angeles. Image Credit: AP

Los Angeles: Errol Spence successfully defended his IBF belt and seized the WBC title on Saturday, defeating Shawn Porter by a split decision in a welterweight unification fight.

The 29-year-old Spence had to go the 12-round distance for the victory in a close slugfest with two belts on the line in one of the deepest divisions in boxing.

“I wanted to show everybody that I can sit there and bang with one of the roughest, toughest fighters in welterweight,” said Spence. “I feel like I am the bigger, stronger and smarter welterweight.”

The two fighters traded blows throughout, especially in close quarters where Spence did some of his best work in front of the crowd of 20,000 at the Staples Center.

He recorded the only knockdown in the 11th round when he hit Porter with a vicious left that wobbled the former WBC champ. Porter didn’t hit the canvas but his knees buckled and his left glove touched the ground, preventing him from going down.

But Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) failed to follow up with the knockout after Porter rose to his feet and said “let’s go”.

Two judges had Spence winning 116-111 and the third gave it to Porter 115-112.