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On July 21, 2007, when Jorge Linares was just 21 years old, he came to the United States for his debut in the capital of the fight world against Oscar Larios with a host of expectations. Not only was he fighting for his first world title against a former world champion with years of title experience, but he did so on the undercard of one of 2007’s biggest fights (Bernard Hopkins vs Winky Wright) while entering the ring with the lofty moniker “El Nino de Oro”.
Yes, Linares – like Oscar De La Hoya - is known as “The Golden Boy”.
But once the bell rang, the charismatic Linares was not be awed by the bright lights of Las Vegas, and he halted Larios in ten rounds to win the WBC featherweight crown and let the fight world know that he arrived.
A professional since December 15, 2002, when he blasted out Kyong-Soo Chong in just 45 seconds, Linares - who is based in Tokyo and speaks fluent Japanese and Spanish – has had little difficulty in his career thus far, winning 40 of 43 bouts, with 27 knockouts to his name.
Key to his attack is a jackhammer jab, as well as fast hands and feet which befuddle opponents. By his eighth fight, in January of 2004, Linares had nearly shut out Hugo Soto over ten rounds to win the WBA Fedelatin super bantamweight title.
He defended his title once, against Renan Acosta, and five fights later added the WBA Fedecentro featherweight crown by stopping Jean Javier Sotelo in the second round of an exciting bout on May 26, 2005, that saw both men hit the deck in round two.
2006 truly saw Linares come into his own and gain worldwide recognition, as he upped his level of competition and won four bouts in a row, two by knockout.
After defeating Larios, the new champion defended his crown once with an eighth round knockout of Gamaliel Diaz in December of 2007 before vacating his title and moving up to 130 pounds.
At 130, Linares quickly picked up where he left off, stopping Whyber Garcia in five rounds on November 28, 2008 to win the vacant WBA super featherweight belt. After one defense over Josafat Perez (TKO8) in June of 2009, Linares was upset by Juan Carlos Salgado in the first round on October 10, 2009 and surrendered his belt.
But you can’t keep a good man down, and after a comeback win over Francisco Lorenzo in March of 2010, Linares returned to the place where his championship career took off – Las Vegas – to battle Rocky Juarez on July 31, 2010. Back in top notch form, and in a new weight class, 135 pounds, Linares dropped Juarez once en route to a dominant 10 round decision that earned him the interim WBA Fedelatin title.
On October 24, 2010, Linares defeated former world champion Jesus Chavez via fourth round TKO, and after a seventh round stoppage of Adrian Verdugo on May 28, 2011, Linares clashed with Antonio DeMarco on October 15, 2011 for the vacant WBC lightweight championship.
DeMarco stopped Linares in 11 rounds, and he was upset by Sergio Thompson in his next bout five months later, but with seven consecutive wins since then, Linares not only got back on track, but he became a world champion once more, as he knocked out Javier Prieto in four rounds on December 30, 2014 to win the vacant WBC world lightweight title.
On May 30, 2015, Linares defended his new title for the first time against England’s Kevin Mitchell, rising from the canvas in the fifth round to stop Mitchell in the tenth and retain his crown.
On October 10, 2015, Linares successfully defended his title again with a fourth-round knockout of Ivan Cano.
Most recently, Linares was crowned the WBC Diamond, WBA,Ring Magazine and Lineal Lightweight World Champion Jorge "El Niño de Oro" Linares by defeating Anthony "Million Dollar" Crolla in a huge unification blockbuster at the Manchester Arena on September 24, 2016, live on Sky Sports. After a bout going all twelve rounds with both Linares and Crolla fighting resiliently until the end, the judges announced their scores of 115-114, 117-111, 115-113 all awarding Jorge Linares the unanimous decision victory.