Boxing: America's bad girl turns the jeers to cheers

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Tonya Harding won her home-state boxing debut with a unanimous decision over Emily Gosa on Friday night. The self-styled "America's Bad Girl" entered the ring to a chorus of boos from the crowd of about 1,800 at Chinook Winds Casino, in Lincoln City, Oregon, but left to cheers after an easy points victory.

The disgraced former US figure-skating champion, 32, who has a record of three wins and one defeat, looked overweight and was clearly winded by the end of the first of four rounds. The entire fight barely rose above the level of a drunken street brawl, both boxers running to the centre of the ring at the start of the fight and stumbling through the first few seconds after colliding.

Gosa, from Sulligent, Alabama, was making her professional debut, and went to ground early on. Harding also stumbled down on one knee. With neither being credited with a knockdown, that was as close as either fighter came to hitting the mat.

Harding had decidedly more power than Gosa, snapping the younger woman's head back on several occasions and drawing blood from her nose in the second round. Gosa got in some decent punches, but none had the power to faze Harding.

As Harding left the ring, again protected by her phalanx of bodyguards, trainers and hangers-on, she was taunted by a few fans, one of whom suggested that next time she bring her hubcap - a reference to a domestic dispute in which Harding attacked her then-boyfriend with one.

Harding's skating career ended in 1994 after she was linked to an assault plot to keep her American rival Nancy Kerrigan out of the Olympic Games. The plot failed, even though Kerrigan was clubbed on a knee with a car jack.

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