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Woods beats Muriqi in eliminator

By Sam Lyon

Clinton Woods
Woods controlled the fight against Muriqi

Clinton Woods moved a step closer towards regaining his light-heavyweight world title after beating Elvir Muriqi in their eliminator fight in Jersey.

Outclassed by Antonio Tarver last April, Woods had insisted he would retire if he could not overcome Muriqi.

But the 36-year-old dominated Kosovan Muriqi throughout, using his greater reach and power shots to great effect.

Muriqi, 29, did well to go the distance but Woods's show saw him take the decision 117-111 119-110 117-111.

The win sets up a title shot for Woods against current IBO and IBF champion Chad Dawson.

"What a night, but I was absolutely terrified," Woods told BBC Radio Sheffield.

"All everyone's been talking about is 'lose and I'll retire', but I got in there I toughed it out and beat a good kid."

Following his defeat by Tarver, Woods decided to split from former trainer Richard Poxon, who is based at the Fight Academy gym in Sheffield, and moved to Hillsborough to link up with Glyn Rhodes.

"Soon as I lost that world title I've never felt so devastated in all my life," added Woods.

Clinton Woods
Woods is looking to win back his world title

"But I sat down with my manager Dennis Hobson, changed trainers, worked hard and I've come back."

Hobson is confident Woods will get a title fight.

"He's number two now so he can't be bypassed," he said. "It's only a matter of time before Clinton will fight for a world title."

At the Hotel de France, Woods appeared a man back to his best as he picked his punches behind a incisive jab, forcing Muriqi onto the ropes on numerous occasions in the early rounds.

The 'Kosovo Kid' tried to keep in touch, but as the rounds progressed, Woods's dominance became ever clearer, with a huge uppercut in the seventh underlining the Sheffield boxer's growing superiority.

606: DEBATE

The Briton continued to out-box Muriqi, whose nose was bleeding, with his left eye closing rapidly in the final rounds, until the final bell brought the inevitable result.

see also
Woods in world title eliminator
02 Dec 08 |  Boxing


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