1986-12-05 Duane Thomas w rsc 3 (12) John Mugabi, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBC

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1986-12-05 Duane Thomas w rsc 3 (12) John Mugabi, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla. Contesting the title vacated by Thomas Hearns, it was Thomas (152¼), a stablemate of the latter, who came though the odds against the vicious, hard-punching Mugabi (153½) to become the new champion. Although rocked by heavy rights in the second and third rounds, Thomas fought a cool and patient fight, while waiting to land his left hook when Mugabi threw wide punches. Several times Thomas was hurt by the power of Mugabi’s blows, but in the third the tide changed when the latter was sent into the ropes after being caught by several left hooks. With Thomas now rampant, Mugabi, claiming he had been thumbed in the left eye, suddenly turned away from him and leaned over the ropes, whereupon the referee stopped the fight after 56 seconds of the session. While Mugabi’s damaged left eye was clear for all to see afterwards, the referee was adamant that it was a punch that had caused the damage.

Matched to challenge Thomas in April 1987, Lupe Aquino stopped Davey Moore inside five rounds on that date after the champion had pulled out injured a week earlier. With 30 wins (22 inside the distance) from 33 contests, despite one of his two defeats coming at the hands of Marlon Starling, Aquino had earlier beaten Steve Hearon and had made rapid strides to earn a title shot.