Boxing

Klitschko Wins, Ouma Defeats Phillips, Lacy Wins IBF Super Middle Belt

02.10.04 - Former WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko survived a fourth-round knockdown and a nasty cut to escape with a fifth-round technical split decision over former NABF heavyweight titleholder DaVarryl Williamson Saturday on SHOWTIME. The fight went to the scorecards after Klitschko was unable to continue after the fifth round due to a deep gash over his right eye that was caused by an accidental head butt.

In the first of two SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-features from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 1 contender Kassim Ouma won the final two rounds on each of the judges' scorecards to capture the IBF junior middleweight championship with a 12-round unanimous decision over champion Verno Phillips. Leading off the SHOWTIME tripleheader, IBF No. 4 contender and 2000 United States Olympian Jeff Lacy captured his first pro title by scoring an eighth-round technical knockout over IBF No. 1 contender Syd Vanderpool to win the vacant IBF super middleweight belt. Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, in association with Caesars Palace presented the event, which aired at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast).

Klitschko (43-3, 39 KOs), of Kiev, Ukraine, sustained cuts over both eyes in his SHOWTIME debut, but racked up enough points to gain the nod on two of the three scorecards. Judges Chuck Giampa and Jerry Roth scored it 49-46 for Klitschko, while Doug Tucker ruled in favor of Williamson, 48-47. The former world champion avenged his older brother, Vitali's, loss to Chris Byrd to capture the WBO heavyweight crown on Oct. 14, 2000. The 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist held the title for more than 28 months and made five successful defenses before being dethroned by Corrie Sanders on March 8, 2003.

Williamson (20-3, 17 KOs), of Washington, D.C., landed a straight right hand to the chin that floored an off-balance Klitschko during the opening minute of the fourth round. Despite the knockdown and opening a cut over his opponent's left eye, "Touch of Sleep" suffered his second loss in his past four fights. The Washington, D.C., native rallied from an eighth-round knockdown to win the NABF and WBO Latino heavyweight titles with a 12-round majority decision over Eliecer Castillo on April 17, 2004, in Tampa, Fla. Williamson vacated the NABF belt on Aug. 27, 2004. The well-educated father of two, who has a master's degree in administrative services, was a three-time United States national champion and compiled a 120-17-11 amateur record with 103 knockouts.

Ouma (20-1-1, 13 KOs) of Palm Beach, Fla., rallied to score a 10-8 round in the 11th and win the 12th on each of the scorecards to defeat Phillips again, this time by the scores 114-113 twice and 117-110. Ouma is coming off of a scintillating 10th-round TKO over Juan Carlos Candelo in an IBF elimination bout Jan. 3, 2004, on SHOWTIME. Since suffering his lone defeat on Nov. 20, 1999, the pride of Palm Beach is on a 12-bout unbeaten streak (11-0- 1). Ouma recorded a 10-round unanimous decision over Phillips in a memorable slugfest on Sept. 7, 2001. Possessing the faster hands, Ouma rattled his opponent on several occasions, got credit for a knockdown in the ninth and won the hard-fought slugfest by the scores 95-94, 96-93 and 97-93.

Phillips (38-10-1, 20 KOs), of Troy, N.Y., saw his seven-bout winning streak and brief reign as champion come to an end when he fell to Ouma for the second consecutive time by unanimous decision. Phillips registered a sixth- round TKO over late substitute and IBF No. 15 contender, Carlos Bojorquez, to capture the vacant IBF junior middleweight title June 5, 2004, on SHOWTIME. The hard-working Phillips captured the WBO 154-pound title by scoring a seventh-round TKO over Lupe Aquino on Oct. 30, 1993, and made three successful defenses. A seasoned boxer-puncher, who has been victorious in 12 out of his past 14 starts, Phillips owns victories over former world champions Julian Jackson, Gianfranco Rosi, Aquino and Julio Cesar Vasquez.

Lacy (17-0, 14 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Fla., shook off a sluggish start to stop Vanderpool at 1:37 of the eighth round and become the first 2000 U.S. Olympian to win a pro title. The aggressor from the outset, Lacy took the wind out of his opponent's sails by landing a punishing uppercut to the jaw in the fourth round. At the time of the stoppage, Lacy, in his 10th SHOWTIME appearance, was ahead 67-66 (twice) and 68-65 on the scorecards. In his most recent outing on June 5, 2004, Lacy retained his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas/North American Boxing Association (NABA) and United States Boxing Association (USBA) super middleweight crowns when his IBF elimination bout on SHOWTIME against fellow unbeaten IBF/World Boxing Association (WBA) International titleholder Vitali Tsypko ended in a no- decision after the second round.

Vanderpool (35-3, 23 KOs), of Kitchener, Canada, saw his seven-bout winning streak come to an abrupt halt despite the vociferous support from the majority of the crowd and the appearance of fellow countryman, Wayne Gretzky. Vanderpool captured the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) middleweight crown on Sept. 12, 1997, in his 23rd bout and made one successful defense. The well-traveled boxer has fought in 14 different states and four Canadian cities since entering the pro ranks as a 20-year-old middleweight in March 1993. In his lone world title appearance, Vanderpool went the distance and held his own against longtime IBF Middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins before dropping a 12-round unanimous decision on May 13, 2000, from Indianapolis, Ind.

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING's Steve Albert and Al Bernstein called Saturday's action from ringside with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast was Jay Larkin, with David Dinkins, Jr. producing and Bob Dunphy directing.

For information on upcoming SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and "ShoBox: The New Generation" telecasts, including complete fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing

Article posted on 02.10.2004



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