The red belt was recently held by Belfast’s Carl Frampton before ‘The Jackal’ vacated to move up to featherweight for a fight with Mexican-American superstar Leo Santa Cruz.
The vacant strap was left for mandatory challenger Shingo Wake and Guzman to contest. The bout took place today on home turf for the Japanese fighter at the EDION Arena in Osaka, but the venue was probably the only thing that went in Wake’s favour.
Guzman started quick, and the Caribbean fighter had Wake down twice in the second. Further knockdowns came in the third and the fifth before Wake staged a dramatic comeback. The Japanese southpaw had Guzman down in the seventh and went hard for the stoppage but couldn’t get it and the bout was called to a halt in the eleventh with Wake an exhausted, bloody mess.
At one stage Guzman was being eyed as a potential opponent for Frampton, and was scheduled to appear on the undercard at the Titanic Quarter in 2014 to build up a defence, however this never came to fruition.
With the win Guzman, who moves to an eye-popping 22(22)-0, joins Guillermo Rigondeaux (WBA), Hugo Ruiz (WBC), and Nonito Donaire as a champion in the 122lb division.