Boxing: Price stops Hernandez to prevent Cuban whitewash

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The Independent Online

It took the most unlikely of boxers to avoid the most predictable of results when a Four Nations select met Cuba at the Olympia, Liverpool last night.

With the host nations trailing 7-0 going into the super heavyweight fight the local boxer David Price stepped over the ropes to face his Cuban counterpart.

Price, 21, is 6ft 7in and is developing into a force on the European circuit. In the opposite corner was Lisovan Hernandez, 18, and one of Cuba's bright young things.

In round one Price nearly forced a stoppage when a left hook connected with Hernandez's body and the teenager from Havana momentarily looked away before spitting out his gum shield. The referee stepped forward and gave Hernandez an eight count but there was no stopping Price.

In rounds two, three and four Price dominated completely and was just two points away from forcing a stoppage at the end of round three under amateur boxing's "outclassed" rule. Price boxed sensibly in the final round to win 29-4 and alter the scoreline to 7-1.

Perhaps the closest of the other seven bouts was at middleweight where Ireland's Andy Lee looked unfortunate to lose 16-14 to Yordanis Despaigne in a bout of high quality.

The pair will meet again next Friday in Dublin when another Four Nations select take on the world's leading amateur boxing nation.

''It was close tonight but I was getting to know him, starting to read his moves and next week I will beat him,'' said Lee, who recently agreed a lucrative financial deal with the Irish government to remain amateur until the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

There was mild applause at ringside before the boxing when the Cuban legend and double Olympic champion Mario Kinderlan embraced Amir Khan. Last August in Athens Kinderlan beat Khan in the lightweight final and last night was, in theory, Khan's chance to get revenge. That fight is now looking unlikely to ever take place.

Kinderlan did fight last night and comfortably beat Birmingham's Frankie Gavin 18-7.

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