RAMA, Ont. -- Steve Molitor outpointed Mexico's Heriberto Ruiz on Friday night to win the IBF super bantamweight title eliminator.
Molitor, former world champion, beat Ruiz (41-8-2, 23 KO) at Casino Rama to move into the vacant number two spot for the IBF crown.
Harry Davis scored the fight 116-112 in favor of Ruiz, Kelly Zolnierczyk had it 116-112 for Molitor, and Benoit Roussel scored it 116-112 for Molitor.
Ranked fourth in the world by the IBF coming into the fight, the boxer known as "The Canadian Kid" rebounded from a loss to Panamanian Celestino Caballero in a unified title fight last November.
Molitor, of Sarnia, Ontario, lost the IBF super bantamweight title and Caballero's WBA belt, but with his victory against Ruiz he'll have a chance to win his title back in September.
Molitor and Ruiz got off to a slow start with few punches thrown in the first and second rounds. The fighters were sparked by loud booing from the crowd, and the fight finally picked up at the end of the second.
Ruiz cut Molitor's forehead in the seventh to little effect. Ruiz began swinging wild punches, missing the target as Molitor advanced.
Blood dripping off Molitor's left brow seemed to temporarily slow the pace of the fight to open up the ninth round. Ruiz did not take advantage.
In the 10th round, both men rested for the first two minutes but ended the round slugging away.
Molitor opened the 11th by landing four straight punches that forced Ruiz back to the ropes. Ruiz responded in the 12th round with several body shots on Molitor, who survived to earn the split decision.