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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 22:20 GMT 23:20 UK
Calzaghe scores explosive win
CALZAGHE v MITCHELL
Joe Calzaghe celebrates his win over Byron Mitchell
Calzaghe won in explosive style

Joe Calzaghe retained his WBO super-middleweight title in explosive style with a second-round stoppage of American Byron Mitchell.

The Welshman bounced back from being put on the canvas for the first time in his career to tear into his opponent with a flurry of punches.

And, in a pulsating second round, he knocked down Mitchell, before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.

It was the first time that Mitchell, a former WBA champion, had been stopped as the 29-year-old Welshman stretched his 100 per cent record to 36 wins from 36 fights.

And the American paid his respect to Calzaghe afterwards, admitting that the Welshman had shown "some heart".

Calzaghe was quick to explain the reasons behind the thrilling toe-to-toe bout enjoyed in Cardiff and on television in the USA.

There always comes a time when a champion gets knocked down - that's when he has to show his heart
Joe Calzaghe

"That was down to six months of frustration as this fight had been postponed two times, so there was a lot of anger in that ring," he said.

"I went a bit mad in there for the first two rounds but I'm sure the crowd loved it.

And the champion put a positive spin on his first-ever knockdown.

"At the end of the day, there always comes a time when a champion gets knocked down," he said.

"That's when he has to show his heart to come back and win by knockout, and that's what I did tonight.

"I was the fittest I've ever been and this was a career best."

Promoter Frank Warren added: "This is the fight that will launch Joe big time in the States."

Mitchell admitted the referee was probably right to stop the fight when he did.

"I thought it was stopped a little bit prematurely but the referee was looking out for my best interests," he said.

On the undercard, Enzo Maccarinelli sensationally won the WBU cruiserweight title by knocking out former British and Commonwealth champion Bruce Scott.

Scott, in his first fight for nearly two years after injury problems, looked to be heading for a quick win when he dumped Maccarinelli inside the first minute with a heavy left.

But the fight soon turned.

Boxing behind his jab, Maccarinelli tightened his defence and found the perfect short left hook in round four to lift the minor world title.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Sport's John Rawling
"This was a terrific win and wildly exciting"


Joe Calzaghe
"If I get knocked down I'm going to come back even stronger"




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