Angel ‘Tito’ Acosta 20-2 (20) was relieved of his WBO junior flyweight title by Elwin ‘Pluga’ Soto 15-1 (11) by TKO12 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California on Friday night.
Despite being decked in the third, Acosta was leading 107-101, 106-102 and 105-103 when he was stopped on his feet at 0:23 of the 12th and final round.
The champion was in trouble in the early rounds but regained control in the back half of the fight only for Soto to rock him late, prompting referee Thomas Taylor to step in and wave off the fight.
“The truth is I feel nice. It feels great to accomplish this. I worked very hard and put a lot of effort into this,” said Soto.
“To be honest I thought I was going to lose and thank God I landed that punch and won the fight.
“When I first dropped him, I felt I could have stopped him, but I knew it was going 12 rounds. This is victory means a lot and dedicate this belt to my family.”
Acosta, who was making the fourth defence of the world championship he won against Juan Alejo eighteen months ago, expressed his disappointment with the result while blaming the referee for stopping the fight too early with less than three minutes to go.
“I’m a little disappointed. Sure, he hurt me but not enough for the stoppage,” said Acosta.
“If I had the chance to do it again, I would have used my jab more and used my distance more just like I did in the gym. I told the referee he shouldn’t have stopped the fight. I was coming back to get him, but he shouldn’t have stopped the fight.
“Look, it was the last round, there was not much more in the round. I would like to fight the same opponent or the other champions in the division.”