Boxing: Nelson retains world title after 'terrible' year

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The Independent Online

Johnny Nelson put one year out of the ring and a foiled kidnapping attempt firmly behind him when he retained his World Boxing Organisation cruiserweight title for the 11th time in Bayreuth, Germany, on Saturday night.

Nelson easily overcame Alex Petkovic, who suffered his first loss in 31 fights, to record win No 43 in what is surely one of British boxing's most remarkable careers. His last defence was in November 2002, but the main reason he has not fought in 12 months was because of the kidnap threat that forced him to spend four months under police protection.

"It has been a terrible year but now I finally feel that I am back on track and that my family are safe,'' said Nelson.

Meanwhile, the boxing career of the Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera is in crisis following his shock 11th-round defeat against Manny Pacquiao from the Philippines.

The pair met at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday night for what many believed was the true featherweight world title. Barrera was the clear favourite, but he survived a knock-down in the third round and when he went down again in round 11 the fight was stopped.