Angelo Leo claimed the vacant WBO junior featherweight title Saturday night, overcoming a slow start and outworking Tramaine Williams in the main event of Showtime Boxing's first show since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sporting world last March.
The two undefeated fighters clashed at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., with no fans in attendance.
Williams stepped in on short notice after Stephen Fulton Jr. was removed for a positive COVID-19 test. He looked to take advantage of the opportunity and claim his first world title, but Leo — who is part of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s stable of fighters — kept his undefeated record intact with a strong performance that combined volume punching and impressive conditioning.
Williams (19-1) got off to a fast start. He kept Leo on the end of his jab and used slick boxing to keep his opponent befuddled. It even appeared as if there could be an upset in the cards after the first couple of rounds. But the pendulum swung in Leo's favor after some important adjustments were made.
Leo (20-0) got back on track in the fourth round as he closed the distance and let his hands go. Aware that Williams was unable to hurt him, he plowed forward and smothered Williams' attempts at working from the outside. Leo's commitment to the body began paying dividends with Williams unable to avoid his foe.
Leo pulled away in the second half of the fight as he picked up the pace and continued to work the body. There wasn't much Williams could do to avoid fighting on the inside, but he did try to hold his ground in the pocket. Leo began to find the mark with alarming accuracy in the eighth round as Williams' output tapered off.
Leo was unable to secure the knockout, however, and he never really had Williams in serious trouble, but he still earned scorecards of 117-111, 118-110 and 118-110 in capturing his first world title.