Greece’s Christina Linardatou Retains World Title in Athens
By David A. Avila
Hard charging Christina Linardatou retained the WBO super lightweight world title by decision in her adopted country Greece over Deanha Hobbs on Friday. But it wasn’t easy.
Linardatou (12-1, 6 KOs) showed the crowd at the Olympic Hall Galatsi in Athens that despite the long arms and persistence of Australia’s Hobbs (8-1, 5 KOs) her own two-fisted attack could not be denied.
It was her first defense of the world title and you could not pick a more difficult opponent than the taller Aussie with the long arms that seemed to able reach out across the boxing ring. That reach posed a problem for Linardatou throughout the super lightweight match.
Hobbs opened the fight with a jab and movement but was caught several times by overhand right bombs from Linardatou in the first two rounds. Hobbs rallied in the third round after putting power into her punches instead of the touch and move method. It made a difference for the rest of the fight.
With knowledge that she had stalled Linardatou’s attack with power punches, Hobbs began unloaded combinations and was especially effective with a nine-punch barrage in the fourth round. She followed it with a three-punch combination and suddenly and seemingly won her first round of the fight.
Hobbs opened up the fifth round with a five-punch combo but that sparked a reply from the champion who fired a four-punch barrage. Hobbs fired back but an overhand right connected snapping the head of Hobbs. That was followed by another overhand right that stunned the Aussie who was caught in a corner. That allowed Linardatou to dig to the body with solid blows until the bell ended the round.
Though it seemed to mark the descent of Hobbs she fooled everyone with a furious rally for the next two rounds. She put those long arms to use by catching the champion with barrage after barrage. Though Linardatou was not hurt, her attack was stalled and it allowed Hobbs to win back to back rounds.
Linardatou took advantage of Hobbs who was tired from her rallies and began firing her own combinations. During one exchange Hobbs lost her mouthpiece. In the ninth round a Linardatou jab was followed up with three-punch combination that seemed to stagger Hobbs. It was a strong round for the champion.
But if anyone thought Hobbs was expired they were wrong. Once again the Aussie dug deep and mounted another rally in the 10th and final round with a three-punch combination. Linardatou countered with a strong one-two combination but was met with a five-punch combination. Though Hobbs wasn’t able to hurt the champion she did show her resilience and possibly won the final round.
But did she win the fight?
The judges saw Linardatou the winner by decision and she retains the WBO super lightweight world title. It was her first world title defense in a loaded weight division that also has WBC and WBA super lightweight titlist Jessica McCaskill. The other titlist is Argentina’s Victoria Bustos.
It was Linardatou’s night and she celebrated in the boxing ring to cheers from the fans. She is that country’s only world champion.