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Badou Jack Makes History with Third Division Title Win in Saudi Arabia


On Sunday evening, Badou Jack achieved the history he set out to make from the moment he accepted the fight against Ilunga ‘Junior’ Makabu. With precision power punching that went a long way, Jack became a three-division titlist after stopping Makabu in the 12th round. Makabu was down in rounds four and eleven, before a final flurry by Jack forced referee Mark Lyson to halt the contest at 54 seconds of round twelve.


Jack, a 39-year-old boxer from Sweden who relocated to Las Vegas and now lives in Dubai, ended the three-year WBC cruiserweight title reign of Makabu with an incredible performance, becoming the first Muslim boxer to win a major title in Saudi Arabia. This historic moment was a testament to Jack’s determination and dedication to his craft. Having previously won the WBC super middleweight and WBA light heavyweight titles on U.S. soil, Jack added another major title to his already impressive resume.


“It feels amazing,” Jack said during the in-ring post-fight interview. “Alhamdulillah.” He also learned that he was the oldest cruiserweight champion of all time, adding another milestone to his incredible career.


The fight was slow in the first three minutes, but things picked up in a hurry in round two. Jack found success with his jab and left hook to the body. Makabu, who was already at a height and reach disadvantage, struggled to work his way inside. Despite fighting in a tiny 18-foot ring, Jack managed to find his desired spacing, using subtle lateral movement to disallow Makabu from ever setting his feet.


In round three, Makabu found greater success closing the gap. He landed several left hands to the body, then later came back with a right hook over the top. Jack took the shot well, but his offense was stunted as he was forced to play defense for most of the round.


However, Jack added to his early lead in a big way with the bout’s first knockdown. Much of round four was fought on even terms before Jack sent Makabu to the canvas. A right hand knocked Makabu off balance, and the rest of his fall appeared to be aided by a tangling of the feet as he rolled on his back. The official knockdown ruling was met without protest, though Makabu was able to beat the count and appeared to be clear-headed once action resumed.


Momentum remained in favor of the challenger, as Jack’s superior footwork and skill set controlled the action and the pace throughout rounds five and six. Makabu was back to square one, unable to work past Jack’s jab.


Head trainer and former title challenger Johnathon Banks encouraged Jack to stick to boxing and not get caught in a bruising fight that would favor Makabu. Jack was able to have his cake and eat it, too. A straight right hand by the 39-year-old challenger briefly froze Makabu in place in the latter half of round seven. Jack confidently boxed in the final minute of the frame.


Jack presented a different look in round eight, spending the first half of the round fighting out of a southpaw stance. He reverted to orthodox once Makabu clocked him with a right hook, responding with two straight right hands along of his own inside the final minute. Jack also connected with an overhand right, followed by a left hook and right uppercut while Makabu was unable to offer anything in return.


Makabu attempted to pick up the pace in round nine while Jack reserved his strength for the back half of the frame. The more telling blows were landed by the challenger, including a right hand upstairs just before the bell.


Jack cemented his victory with a second knockdown early

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