LOS ANGELES: Unbeaten Jose Ramirez kept his World Boxing Council junior welterweight title on Friday with a unanimous decision win over Mexican challenger Antonio Orozco.
The 26-year-old former American Olympian knocked down Orozco twice in the first defence of his title in front of his home crowd at the Save Mart Center arena in Fresno, California.
Ramirez showed off his improved jab, throwing over 1,000 punches as both fighters kept busy from the opening round to the final bell. All three judges scored it 119-107.
Ramirez improved to 23-0 with 16 knockouts as he decided to fight Orozco after his planned fight in July against Danny O'Connor fell through. O'Connor collapsed at the weigh-in after struggling to make weight.
Orozco suffered the first loss of his career in his 28th fight. He came back from two knockdowns and didn't win hardly any rounds against Ramirez, but he showed that he can take a punch and keep on ticking.
There was no feel out round in the first as both boxers came out swinging in the centre of the ring in front of the crowd of 14,000.
Orozco displayed little defence in the first few rounds, allowing Ramirez to tee off on him with straight jabs and left hooks.
In the fourth, Ramirez knocked Orozco down with a right hand to the head. The two were exchanging blows in middle of ring when Ramirez beat him to the punch and the Mexican hit the canvas with 67 seconds left.
Orozco went down again with 1:13 remaining in the eighth round when Ramirez landed a hard left hook to the body.
"He is a true warrior," Ramirez said of Orozco. "He could have stayed down but he decided to get up.
"The body shot, I was surprised. It was more of a flash knockdown."
Ramirez won the title Terence Crawford vacated last year by scoring an impressive unanimous decision victory over Amir Imam in New York at Madison Square Garden.
He recently parted ways with trainer Freddie Roach and switched to Robert Garcia. Ramirez believed he was not getting enough attention from Roach and Garcia promised to make him a priority in his stable of fighters.
"Robert realized the power of my jab," he said.