NEW YORK -- Emanuel Navarrete was fighting outside of his native Mexico for the first time but never seemed unnerved by it or the fact that he would be on the biggest stage of his career when he faced junior featherweight world titlist Isaac Dogboe.
And Navarrete, the mandatory challenger, took it to Dogboe. He landed a lot of hard punches, swelled Dogboe's face and scored an upset unanimous decision to take his 122-pound world title in the co-feature on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza lightweight unification bout on Saturday night at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Two judges scored the fight 116-112 for Navarrete and the third had it 115-113. ESPN.com also scored the fight 116-112 for Navarrete.
"Hearing those words ['and the new world champion'] was the culmination of a dream, a culmination of all the hard work and all the sacrifices that I have made," Navarrete said through an interpreter. "Thanks to Isaac Dogboe. I knew I'd have to be at my best.
"I hurt my right hand early in the fight, but I had the desire to be a champion and I did everything necessary to get the title, and I am very happy and proud to achieve this goal of being the world champion."
Dogboe, a 2012 Olympian from Ghana, had burst on the scene early this year, winning an interim title by knocking out Cesar Juarez in the fifth round in January, then claiming the full title with a rousing 11th-round knockout of Jessie Magdaleno in April followed by a first-round demolition of Hidenori Otake in August. But Navarrete, a much bigger man, could not be tamed in Dogboe's second title defense and he gave Navarrete credit.
"It was a great fight, and Emanuel Navarrete fought like a true Mexican warrior," Dogboe said. "Champions are supposed to keep going under any circumstance, but I just couldn't get the victory. The best man won tonight."
The fight got off to a spirited start with several exciting exchanges in the early rounds. Navarrete suffered a cut on the left side of his hairline in the second round but he also seemed to rattle Dogboe with a right hand.
Dogboe, the shorter man, worked the body very well, but Navarrete found a home for his left hand, which he landed flush several times.
Navarrete charged after Dogboe during the fifth round, landed some right hands and had him in retreat. By the sixth round, Dogboe's right eye was swelling. He also had swelling on the left side of his face. Dogboe applied intense pressure in the eighth round, but Navarrete withstood it and fired back.
Dogboe landed a right hand behind the head that dropped Navarrete in the ninth round, but referee Benjy Esteves did not call it because it was an illegal punch.
Navarrete (26-1, 22 KOs), 23, had Dogboe (20-1, 14 KOs), 24, in some trouble in the 11th round as Dogboe's left eye was nearly closed and he might not have been able to see the punches coming. His legs also looked unsteady as Navarrete chased him around the ring.
In the final round, Navarrete, who won his 21st fight in a row, continued to come forward and Dogboe, whose face was a mess, grabbed on to Navarrete whenever he got close.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Navarrete landed 221 of 804 punches (28 percent) and Dogboe connected with 176 of 686 (26 percent).
Lopez crushes Menard
Lopez does the Heisman after one-punch KO
Teofimo Lopez knocks out Mason Menard with a brutal right hand then dons a Kyler Murray jersey and does the Heisman pose.
Lightweight Teofimo Lopez Jr., perhaps boxing's No. 1 prospect, was supposed to be facing the best opponent so far of his two-year-old professional career in Mason Menard, but it sure didn't look that way.
Lopez, a 2016 Olympian for his parents' home country of Honduras, erased Menard with a single massive right hand on the chin for a knockout of the year contender in the first round. Menard fell face-first in seeming slow motion and referee Charlie Fitch waved it off at 44 seconds.
After the knockout Lopez did a Heisman Trophy pose and donned an Oklahoma Sooners jersey in honor of Kyler Murray, who was awarded the trophy on the ESPN telecast just before the fight.
Lopez (11-0, 9 KOs) has been pressing Top Rank to move him faster up the ladder and has talked about an eventual title fight with Lomachenko. Lopez, 21, a Brooklyn native fighting out of Las Vegas, is not ready for that yet, but it might not be too much longer.
Lopez injured his right hand in his last fight in July, a sixth-round knockout of William Silva that led to a little bit of a layoff, but with the way he landed it against Menard (34-4, 24 KOs), 30, of Rayne, Louisiana, he had no problems with it.
"Happy birthday, Bob," Lopez said to his promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, who turned 87 on Saturday. "I knew [Menard] was a tough fighter. I knew he could fight. I wanted to test him, and I took a chance early in the fight. I know he trained hard, and he didn't want it to go that way. I wanted to test him and land my best shot and see how he reacted. I saw he was moving to the side and I said I got to throw it."
Throw it he did to conclude the year with four wins, three by knockout. He is expecting a bigger 2019.
"2019 it is the takeover," said Lopez, who was fighting at Madison Square Garden for the fourth time. "The takeover has begun. In 2019 you will see me with a strap that says worlds champion. We're in the stage of my career where we can change boxing and bring it back. You all haven't seen anything like me in a long time."
Menard dropped to 2-3 in his past five fights with all three losses coming by knockout to the best opponents of his career in Lopez, former lightweight world titlist Raymundo Beltran last December 2016 and top prospect Devin Haney in May.
Olympian Vianello wins pro debut
Heavyweight Guido Vianello (1-0, 1 KO), a 2016 Italian Olympian, made his professional debut in dominant fashion, dropping Luke Lyons (5-2-1, 2 KOs) twice in a second-round knockout victory.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Vianello, 24, who recently signed a multiyear contract with Top Rank and is trained by Abel Sanchez, dropped Lyons in the waning seconds of the first round with a hard right hand to the head. Lyons, 33, of Pikeville, Kentucky, beat the count and the round ended before Vianello could throw another punch. But he put Lyons away quickly in the second round, dropping him with another right hand to the head as referee Charlie Fitch counted him out at 29 seconds.
"It was a dream come true to make my professional debut at Madison Square Garden," Vianello said. "I hope I did Italy proud. I came here tonight to score a knockout, and I delivered."
Vianello served as one of lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury's sparring partners for his preparation for his Dec. 1 draw with titleholder Deontay Wilder.
Oxnard, California-based Russian Alexander Besputin (12-0, 9 KOs), 27, a fast-rising welterweight whom Top Rank's Bob Arum has mentioned as a possible future challenger for world titlist Terence Crawford, shut out Juan Carlos Abreu (21-4-1, 19 KOs), 31, of the Dominican Republic, in a dirty fight. Besputin won 100-88 on all three scorecards.
"He fought a very uncomfortable, dirty fight, but I dominated," Besputin said. "I am ready for a world title fight next."
A left hand on the chin dropped Abreu to his rear end in the first round, but the fight soon turned awfully chippy.
There was wrestling and rough tactics and referee Shada Murdaugh warned Abreu to stop elbowing in the second round. Abreu got another warning after the third round when he fired a shot at Besputin after the bell. In the final seconds of the fourth round the fighters got tangled up and wrestled each other to the ground along with Murdaugh. In the fifth round, Abreu was warned for landing a grazing punch on Besputin when he was on the mat from a slip.
Besputin was credited with another knockdown in the eighth round when he nailed Abreu with a left hand that sent him into the ropes, which held him up.
Abreu lost his second fight in a row, having dropped a unanimous decision to another Top Rank welterweight up-and-comer in Egidijus Kavaliauskas in July.
Welterweight prospect Brian Ceballo (6-0, 3 KOs), 24, a five-time New York Golden Gloves champion, fought in his hometown for the first time as a professional and hit Daniel Calzada (16-20-3, 2 KOs), 27, of Denver, with everything in a shutout decision win. Ceballo, who turned pro in March, won 40-36 on all three scorecards.
Bronx, New York, junior welterweight Josue Vargas (12-1, 8 KOs), 20, made his debut under the Top Rank banner by dominating John Renteria (16-6-1, 12 KOs), 26, of Panama, en route to a fourth-round knockout.
Vargas floored Renteria in the second round and twice more in the fourth round, all with right hands. After he landed a right uppercut for the third knockdown, referee Eddie Claudio waved off the fight at 31 seconds.
Junior welterweight Abdiel Ramirez (24-3-1, 22 KOs), 27, of Mexico, knocked out Michael Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs), 28, of Newark, New Jersey, in the eighth and final round in an upset.
Perez was ending a 20-month layoff in his first fight since signing with Top Rank but it did not go well. In an all-action fight, Ramirez dropped Perez with a left hand late in the first round, and although Perez rebounded to knock Ramirez down with a left-right uppercut combination in the fourth round, he couldn't capitalize. They continued to fight toe-to-toe until the eighth round, when Ramirez hammered Perez with a right uppercut for another knockdown and referee Shada Murdaugh waved it off immediately at 54 seconds because Perez had taken a lot of punishment.