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Kiryl Relikh - The New WBA Light Welterweight Champion

The New WBA Light Welterweight Champion


Kiryl Relikh (22-2 19KO) ensured it was revenge and redemption, not repeat as he realised his dream and became the WBA Light Welterweight Champion. The new champion widely outpointing Rances Barthelemy (26-1 13KO) in a rematch of their first encounter in May of last year. The bout served as the co-feature to Lipinets/Garcia. 


It was almost as if the new champion knew this could well be his last chance at a world title, as he put on quite simply the best performance of his career. The three scoring judges rewarding his performance with scores of 117-110 and 118-109 twice. Relikh was coming into this fight off of two consecutive loses. Having been on the end of questionable decisions against Ricky Burns in October 2016 and of course his first fight with Barthelemy last year.


Relikh's punch output was simply outstanding, he threw over 1200 punches in the fight and looked as though he had the energy to throw many more if needed. Barthelemy was buried with the Belarussian's punches. The former champion fought quite a passive fight, which Relikh took full advantage of. He dictated the pace of the fight pretty much from start to finish. The new champion's output forcing Barthelemy to sit behind a high guard. 


The fight was as one-sided as the scorecards reflected. Relikh was the busier man in every round. Barthelemy did slow his opponent down momentarily, but this was due to a low blow which cost him a point in the seventh. This was the second obvious low blow he had thrown in the fight and referee Luis Pabon had seen enough. 


For Barthelemy, it is back to the drawing board. He simply did not turn up to the fight at all. There was almost a reluctance to let his hands go as he was afraid to get caught with Relikh's constant pressure. When he did let his hands go it was only for short bursts, though he did put in some nice work to the body. His best punch coming in the tenth after a body shot seemed to hurt Relikh, although he recovered quickly. 


For the new champion bigger nights, bigger fights and bigger payday's await him. With the WBC and WBO title pictures still being a little murky in the short term, perhaps a fight with new IBF Welterweight Champion Mikey Garcia could be a fight he's interested in.