Sam Goodman continues to strengthen his compelling case to fight Japanese megastar Naoya Inoue after taking care of former world title challenger Miguel Flores on Sunday.
Albion Park's favourite son claimed a unanimous victory over the Mexican-American in their catchweight bout on the Gold Coast to move to 16-0. In a 12-round epic, Goodman landed a telling left jab to the liver which knocked down Flores in the eighth round, although the veteran got back up.
Flores had a point deducted in the eighth and 10th rounds for low blows, while Goodman won every round of two cards and 11 of 12 on the other.
The bout was held on the undercard to Tim Tszyu's first defence of his WBO super-welterweight crown against Brian Mendoza.
"I thought I had him out of there multiple times and I thought every time, momentum got a little bit staggered," Goodman said post-fight.
"It was a good test, I knew it would be tough and I knew he came in super prepared because he backed out of featherweight, so I knew he wasn't taking this lightly. It was a great fight and he's got that Mexican spirit in him, and he showed that in there and got through the fight.
"He tested my body out - and other things out - so it was a good test. But fair play to him, he's a tough competitor."
It was Goodman's third win of 2023, and his first since claiming the IBF No.1 super bantamweight ranking with a decision over previously unbeaten American Ra'eeme Aleem at the same venue in June.
It made him the mandatory challenger to the IBF strap currently held by Filipino Marlon Tapales, who's set for a title unification bout with Inoue on Boxing Day.
The Japanese star will be a heavy favourite in that bout but, with Goodman also holding the No.1 position to Inoue's WBO title, could possibly face Illawarra's rising star in what would be one of the biggest boxing bouts recent Australian history some time next year.
Whether Inoue continues to campaign at 122 pounds remains to be seen but, with Goodman ranked No. 1 with two of the four major sanctioning bodies, a world title opportunity appears in the offing in the very near future.
More to come.
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