Ghanaian boxer Rafael Mensah says sustaining an injury in the early stages of his fight with Alberto Machado cost him the WBA super featherweight title.
Defending champion Machado scored a unanimous decision win over mandatory challenger, Mensah at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, U.S.A last weekend.
All three judges scored it a shutout with 120-108. Mensah’s mouth was incredibly swollen from Round five onwards.
Mensah, who was fighting outside his country for the first time in his career, struggled to compete with Machado.
According to Business Ghana, Mensah (31-1, 23 Kos) said after the fight: “I got hurt early with a shot. 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 added.
Machado improved his fight record to 20-0 with 16 knockouts and he stated that his plan worked well on the night.
“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.”