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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 April 2007, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
Calzaghe too strong for Manfredo
Joe Calzaghe and Peter Manfredo
The referee steps in as Calzaghe gets on top in the third
Joe Calzaghe dismantled Peter Manfredo Jr to make the 20th successful defence of his WBO super middleweight title at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Welshman Calzaghe, 35, thrilled the 35,000 spectators with a third-round stoppage of the American, a former reality TV star.

Calzaghe dominated a low-key start before stepping it up in the third.

The referee stepped in with Manfredo on the ropes and, although it was a little early, the result was never in doubt.

In front of a record indoor crowd, Calzaghe was a class apart from Manfredo who barely threw a significant punch.

The referee saved him from more punishment

Joe Calzaghe

The 26-year-old, most famous for being the runner-up in the first US series of boxing reality TV show 'The Contender', could not cope with Calzaghe's speed.

The Welshman made the first telling blows to the body at the start of the second and took control of the fight behind his jab.

A good right early in the third rocked Manfredo and Calzaghe piled in with a succession of hooks.

However, Manfredo appeared to be soaking up the blows and it was a surprise when referee Terry O'Connor stepped in and stopped the fight after one minute 30 seconds of the round.

The victory extends Calzaghe's unbeaten record to 43-0 and his next fight could be against WBA champion Mikkel Kessler of Denmark.

606: DEBATE

"It's amazing (to be in Cardiff) for my 20th defence in this amazing arena," he said afterwards.

"I paid my dues for a long time and this is what dreams are made of - and there's more to come yet."

He added: "I think you could make a case that it was stopped slightly prematurely but if it hadn't have been then I'd have stopped him by the fourth.

"The referee saved him from more punishment. Up close he was going (down) and in the next 20 or 30 seconds I'd have floored him."

Manfredo said: "I was hanging in there, trying to get my rhythm going, and the fight was stopped too soon. There was no warning or anything.

"Joe is the best and I wanted to feel my way and find my rhythm but I couldn't get it going. He picked up the pace and got me in a corner.

"He has fast hands but not much power. I've been hit by bigger punches. I was never hurt and it (the stoppage) was too quick."

SEE ALSO
BBC Wales Sport coverage
31 Oct 05 |  Wales
Calzaghe eyes historic prize
06 Apr 07 |  Boxing
Calzaghe relinquishes IBF title
27 Nov 06 |  Boxing
Calzaghe uninspired by Manfredo
25 Jan 07 |  Boxing
Living the dream
12 Dec 06 |  Boxing
The Calzaghe Record
05 Mar 06 |  Boxing


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