Early injury cost me world title — Rafael Mensah

BY: Graphic Sports
Alberto Machado (left) had Ghana’s Raphael Mensah at his mercy in their entire 12-round bout
Alberto Machado (left) had Ghana’s Raphael Mensah at his mercy in their entire 12-round bout

Ghana’s Rafael Mensah has blamed his WBA super feather weight championship defeat to title holder, Alberto Machado in their fight last Saturday on an injury he sustained in the early stages of the bout.

Machado scored a unanimous decision victory over mandatory challenger, Mensah, in the HBO co-feature at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Machado dropped Mensah hard with a right hook seconds before the bell rang to end Round One, and the Puerto Rican was in cruise control from that moment on and eventually had all three judges scoring it a shutout with 120-108.

Machado did as he pleased in there, but he couldn’t close the show, though referee Russell Mora appeared seconds away from stopping the bout on several occasions.

The right side of Mensah’s mouth was incredibly swollen from Round five on, and the Ghanaian who was fighting outside his country for the first time in his career, never threatened to compete.

Mensah (31-1, 23 Kos) said after the fight: “I got hurt early with a shot.

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“It took four or five rounds for me to come back. He’s a tall and lanky fighter and made it tough to come back,.

“I had prepared and was keen to win the fight, unfortunately, it is not easy to dethrone a champion and the early injury did not help me much, ” the 25-year-old, who is also the nephew of former world champion, Ike Quartey, admitted.

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For Machado who improved his fight record to 20-0 with 16 knockouts, things worked according to plan and he was pleased with the outcome.

“Working those rounds was better for me because I haven’t had that experience before (of going 12 rounds),” the Puerto Rican said through a translator.

“I hurt my left hand, that’s why I stopped throwing it to the body. But I stuck to my game plan, which was to jab and fight from distance.”

Machado had his left hand wrapped in gauze following the bout, and when he unwrapped it, he revealed a nasty gash over the knuckle on his middle finger.

He landed combinations at will, and backed the Ghanaian up to the ropes time and again.