Shabaz Masoud extended his unbeaten record with a split decision victory over Jose Sanmartin to claim the WBA super-bantamweight intercontinental title in the main event in Newcastle promoted by Matchroom Boxing in a competitive affair.
Southpaw Masoud (11-0) would start the contest confidently by being able to gauge the distance early on and find a home for his left hand, with Sanmartin (34-7-1) seeking to make the contest an affair fought at close quarters marching forward. Masoud would land several telling body shots in the dying embers of the opening round of a scheduled ten.
Sanmartin would start the second much brighter, attacking Masoud to the body along the ropes in the opening minute. At halfway in the round, Masoud would spin Sanmartin into the corner and counter him before reestablishing his jab as Sanmartin continued to come forward, seemingly comfortable to take the punching power of Masoud's early doors. Sanmartin would finish the round like he started, attacking Masoud against the ropes to the body.
Sanmartin started strong in the third with his head down and targeting the protected body of Masoud, who was able to pick his sports and land on Sanmartin coming in. Masoud, as the round continued, was able to pick off Sanmartin with a number of left hands who kept on proceeding to step in on the inside.
Both fighters exchanged leather at the start of the fourth, Sanmartin a long right with Masoud against the ropes and Masoud countering when making the Columbian miss. Sanmartin would pin Masoud more frequently and demonstrated a high work rate with a high work output. Masoud was able to land some punches while pinned down, but nothing of telling nature.
Sanmartin continued in the fifth with unrelenting work and snapped the head back on two occasions courtesy of two straight right hands and was seemingly able to push back Masoud, who was happy to box against the ropes with little potshots. However, this again did not deter Sanmartin from continuing his forward momentum in taking the fight to the undefeated Stoke-On-Trent native.
Masoud would have a more improved sixth round, landing a number of left hooks, which made Sanmartin complain to the referee, insisting that he was hit with an elbow. However, despite Sanmartin still being able to plod forward, Masoud could generate enough space to land his left hand more effectively.
Masoud continued to land his shots more effectively and display the more classier work compared to the now workmanlike Sanmartin, who still marched forward but with less of the faints which drew him success in the earlier rounds in seven.
A more comfortable and controlled eighth round for Masoud was followed by another by Sanmartin, who started to slow down in output and footwork, allowing Masoud to take the lead in momentum for the first time in the contest.
The tenth and final of the scheduled ten saw both fighters fight in the centre; however, Masoud continued to land the more telling and more measured shots of the final frame.
After a scheduled ten the contest went to the scorecards with decision ruled a split decision in favour of Masoud with 98-92 and 96-94 fight score totals with one score of 96-94b ruled in favour of Sanmartin.