Charlie Edwards retains title after opponent hit him while on one knee

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Charlie Edwards retained his WBC flyweight title as his bout against Julio Cesar Martinez was ruled a no-contest – moments after the mandatory challenger had been declared a winner.

The Londoner’s nine-month reign as world champion seemed to be over when he was counted out after a relentless assault to the body from the Mexican in the third round.

However, the final punch to the ribs came after Edwards had taken a knee and once the incident had been shown on the big screens at the O2 Arena, a knockout victory for Martinez was overturned because of the illegal blow.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told Sky Sports: “This fight has been ruled a no-contest and a direct rematch will be ordered.”

Edwards was making the second defence of his title against an opponent who earned his opportunity following a fifth-round knockout of Andrew Selby in Mexico in March.

Boos rang out around the O2 Arena following the controversial ending, but they turned to cheers following Sulaiman’s announcement.

Edwards said: “He did hurt me, I won’t deny that, and that’s why I took a knee. But it was the shot on the floor that put me away.

“I took a knee for a purpose. He finished me off with a body shot. Cheaters never prosper.”

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