TERENCE CRAWFORD was typically slick and tidy while dominating Mexican tough nut, Raymundo Beltran, over 12 rounds. The WBO lightweight champion notched his second defence to cap an excellent year in front of his hometown Omaha, Nebraska fans, and was a deserved unanimous winner, two scores of 119-109 and one of 120-108 confirming his superiority.

Crawford, 27, beat Ricky Burns to win the title in March, halted Yuriorkis Gamboa in June, and has now turned back the challenge of mandatory contender, Beltran. The challenger was game throughout, but outgunned, as Crawford switched stances before going for the knockout in the final round.

“I felt he was slowing down,” said Crawford after his win at the CenturyLink Center arena. “I didn’t want to get careless. I just stuck with what was working. I saw his eyes swollen but I just stuck to the game plan.”

Beltran was game until the end and rallied in that final session to stave off a stoppage defeat.

“I prayed to God to give me the strength, but I forgot to pray to take it away from him,” Beltran said.

Crawford plans to move to light-welterweight next year after spending much of his career at 135lbs.

“This is it [lightweight division]” Crawford said. “I’ve been at 135 since I was 17. I am 27 now. It is time to move up.”