By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
In a rematch nearly seven years in the making, undefeated Frenchman Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11 KOs) captured the vacant WBC bantamweight title with a well-fought twelve-round unanimous decision over Rau’shee Warren (16-3, 4 KOs) on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Scores were 115-113, 116-112, 117-111.
These two fighters met as amateurs at the 2012 London Olympics, with two-time Olympian Oubaali edging three-time Olympian Warren 19-18 in the flyweight division.
Despite the unanimous decision, their rematch in the pro ranks was equally competitive, with Warren controlling large portions of many of the rounds only to be rocked by the heavier-handed Oubaali two or three times before the bell. Warren, whose Achilles heel has always been his lack of punching power, excelled when able to stick and move, but nearly every time the two fighters would trade punches Oubaali would rock his opponent and win the exchange.
Despite being outgunned, Warren gamely traded punches with Oubaali, particularly in the second half of the fight, but ultimately the Frenchman’s aggression and harder punches carried the day over Warren’s speed and movement.