Boxing: No rush for classy Woods

FRANK MALONEY has no intention of rushing Clinton Woods into a world championship challenge. Woods, currently ranked seventh in the world, beat New Zealand's Sam Leuii in six rounds to retain his Commonwealth light-heavyweight title at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre in London on Saturday.

Woods also holds the European and British titles, but his promoter-manager aims to ensure the 27-year-old is able to stay at the top once he gets there.

"Clinton is a very classy boxer with a lot of talent but I want him to win the world title and keep it," said Maloney, who steered Lennox Lewis to world heavyweight title glory.

"First I would like him to win a Lonsdale Belt outright, then take him along the road to the top."

Woods must defend his European championship against the Frenchman Joe Siluvangi, probably in September, before cleaning up the British scene.

Woods, gaining the 23rd victory of his career, showed composure under pressure. on Saturday. Woods' punching power proved decisive - but not before he had been rocked by his shorter opponent. After dominating the first two rounds Woods was caught by three right-handers to the jaw in the third round.

Worse was to follow in the next round when a double left hook to the jaw rocked the champion. A swelling underneath Woods' right eye did not aid his cause in round five but Leuii went down early in the next round, taking a mandatory count of eight, although the punch that floored him was barely noticeable.

Woods then waded in, landing a two-handed burst of punches, one of which caused a cut on the top of the New Zealander's right eyelid.

The ringside doctor thought the cut was bad enough to halt the fight with 23 seconds of the round left.