Angel Acosta's reign as the WBO light flyweight champion is over after what may be a questionable stoppage at the hands of Mexican fighter Elwin Soto less than 30 seconds into the final round.
Soto landed a vicious left hook to Acosta's chin seconds into the 12th round, hurting him and sending him to the ropes and throwing a flurry of punches that had referee Thomas Taylor step in and stop the fight. The stoppage earned Soto the WBO championship, his first world title.
The fight was nonstop action that had both men hurt and staggered at various points in the bout. Acosta slightly outworked Soto in the first two rounds, but Soto turned his fortunes around with a left-right combination that dropped the Puerto Rican in the third round. Soto kept up the pressure after the knockdown and even hurt Acosta in the fourth round thanks to a right hand that tagged Acosta.
But once the fifth round commenced, Acosta started to get to work by repeatedly throwing the left hook and outworking Soto. Acosta's constant barrage of left hooks caused swelling under Soto's right eye, but Soto never wavered and was never dropped at any point in the fight. By the time the championship rounds arrived, Acosta had regained momentum with his sheer volume of punches.
Then came the 12th round and everything changed. Acosta tried to go in for the knockout, pressuring Soto to the ropes, but Soto quickly caught him with the left hook that started the sequence leading to the upset win. Soto threw a couple of punches to the body and when Acosta's hands were slightly down, Taylor stopped the fight. The crowd at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California quickly booed Taylor for his decision, believing it to be an early stoppage.
Acosta was ahead on all three judges' scorecards heading into the 12th round, leading with scores of 105-103, 106-102 and 107-101. The loss snapped Acosta's four-fight win streak since a 2017 loss to Kosei Tanaka. Acosta bounced back from that loss to win the WBO title with a 10th-round knockout win over Juan Alejo at Madison Square Garden and defended the belt with wins over Carlos Buitrago, Abraham Rodriguez and Ganigan Lopez.
Soto has now captured his first world and extends his win streak to 13 fights. The 22-year-old Soto came into the fight as a massive underdog and was only ranked No. 14 by the WBO heading into the title bout.