Jorge Linares vs Mercito Gesta



Good morning one and all! Or good afternoon depending on where you are. You might have thought that after Usyk vs Briedis we had had our fix of boxing excitement for the day. Not at all! There's two world titles to be settled and you won't miss a punch if you stick right here. Lucas Matthysse vs Tewa Kiram and Jorge Linares vs Mercito Gesta is your menu. Time to tuck in.

Alistair Sargent reporting for duty. WBA lightweight and vacant WBA welterweight titles the hardware up for graps this evening. Jorge Linares and Lucas Matthysse the favourites, Mercito Gesta and Tewa Kiram the underdogs out to spoil the party. Here's hoping for two good fights.

I'm led to believe by BoxNation's published running order that WBA lightweight champion Linares vs Gesta will be up first, with Matthysse vs Kiram for the vacant WBA welterweight title to follow. Not sure I can understand that. Linares is the bigger draw and fights for a real world title. Matthysse is going for a pretend title as the WBA already has a welterweight world champion.

No action in the ring just now. Shouldn't be long until the boxing gets going. When it does you will be kept up to date in style right here. Don't switch the channel!

Our main focus this evening will be the WBA world, WBC diamond and Ring magazine lightweight champion Jorge Linares. The brilliant Venezuelan has big plans for a lightweight unification bout with WBC world champion Mikey Garcia later in the year, and has also talked up the prospect of a bout with super-featherweight king Vasyl Lomachenko. I don't oppose those match ups in any way.

Linares' 30 year-old Filipino opponent Mercito Gesta earns his second tilt at a world title this evening in what is a huge step up in class to his recent fights. He lost his last title challenge to Miguel Vazquez. He has one defeat on his resume, two draws and 31 victories (17 by way of KO). He will become Jorge Linares' 44th victim this evening, and his 28th knockout. You heard it here first...

Boxers are finally in the ring and Michael Buffer is doing his thing, as only he can. And it is indeed Linares vs Gesta up first. I can not believe Linares is playing second fiddle tonight. But there you go. He gets our undivided attention right now...

Ref gives his instructions... And away we go!

Jorge Linares vs Mercito Gesta Round 1: Gesta, trained by Freddie Roach, starts fast and unloads a fast combination, although Linares absorbs most of it on the guard. Linares tries to establish the jab and Gesta looks to let another combination go but again Linares defence is tight. LInares looks for the left-right 1-2 but it's Gesta's turn to block.

Good right hand on the inside by Linares. And then two short right hooks in the clinch, the second of which did land. Gesta tries to come in but is caught with a right hand. Long lead right hand from Linares lands but Gesta lands the final blow of the round as he leans in to land a straight left. Exciting and fast paced opening. Linares shading it, but only just. 10-9