Boxing: Reid's reign ended by Malinga

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The Independent Online
A gruelling 15th-month championship reign for Robin Reid ended last night at London Arena when South African veteran Thulane "Sugar Boy'' Malinga won a unanimous decision over the Runcorn fighter to regain the World Boxing Council super middleweight title by scores of 117-113, 115- 114 and 117-112.

After opening his time as champion with three impressive stoppage wins, Reid faltered last time out, in September, and struggled to beat French middleweight Hassine Cherisi. The possibility always existed that this latest defence, against an experienced and cagey former champion, who had, in March 1996, ended the title reign of Nigel Benn, might have come too early for a 26-year-old who had appeared to have become jaded overnight. Such was the case

The script said that Christmas would come early for Mickey Cantwell, British boxing's version of Tiny Tim, at the London Arena last night. It didn't work out that way. Cantwell, bleeding from nose and eye, was stopped in eight rounds by the Phillippino southpaw Eric Jamili for the vacant World Boxing Organisation strawweight (7st 7lb) title.

The subtext to this fight was more interesting than the fight itself. The championship, according to previous, and perhaps current, owner Ricardo Lopez of Mexico, had not been vacated at all.

The fight was stopped after 1min 22sec of the eighth round, after referee Mark Nelson of Minnesota stopped the action in order for the ringside doctor to check Cantwell's battered nose and eye, the fight was stopped. At 34, Cantwell has little option but to retire, his pride intact.

The chance to challenge for the WBO light-middleweight title was a long time coming for Adrian Dodson, the Ghanaian-born, New York raised, Islington domiciled southpaw who represented Britain at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. His mandatory challenge was due to be made almost one year ago. And his weight ended in disappointment when finally he challenged the highly rated Florida southpaw Ronald `Winky' Wright and received a painful introduction to world class. Dodson was ruled unable to continue after six rounds, his eyes battered closed and his face the proverbial mask of blood.

Cardiff 23-year-old Barry Jones fared somewhat better, winning an uneventful but unanimous decision over Ghaled Colombian Wilson Palacio for the vacant WBO super featherweight title. Scores were 116-112, 118-110 and 118-110 again in Jones' favour. Now undefeated in 18 fights but with only one knock out scored in his career, Jones is skilful rather then explosive. His success, none the less, will revive boxing's fortunes in the Principality.

The British and WBO Intercontinental super middleweight champion Dean Francis won the vacant European title with an ninth-round stoppage of Frenchman Frederic Seillier.

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