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WBO super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe
"He gave me 10 really tough rounds"
 real 14k

Richie Woodhall
"In the end he was too strong for me"
 real 14k

Saturday, 16 December, 2000, 23:51 GMT
Calzaghe beats pal to retain title
Calzaghe's better combinations proved decisive
Calzaghe's better combinations proved decisive
Joe Calzaghe's power proved decisive as he defended his WBO super-middleweight title against good friend Richie Woodhall.

Referee Roy Francis halted an excellent battle at Sheffield Arena after 28 seconds of the 10th round, with Woodhall confessing afterwards: "No complaints".

Woodhall, the former WBC champion, gave it everything, but it was a night when Calzaghe's combinations were in good working order.

The Welshman got off to a fast start in his seventh defence, making the pace and catching Woodhall with big shots.

Encouragement

Calzaghe landed one right to the side of the head in the opening minute which sent Woodhall crashing back into the ropes and momentarily dazed.

But Woodhall stung the champion with a right-hand counter at the end of the round.

Woodhall goes on the offensive
Woodhall goes on the offensive
That was just the encouragement Woodhall needed to boss the second round, coming out fast and landing the better punches.

At the end of that session, the two fighters showed their respect and friendship by winking at each other.

The pace of both opening two rounds had to take a toll.

By the fifth, Calzaghe was back in control, but the Welshman was stung by a straight right in the seventh as Woodhall began to claw back the deficit.

Suddenly, Woodhall's fitness seem to drain and Calzaghe saw the opening in round nine.

Consider future

The champion connected with a right and left, and the follow-up attack sent Woodhall down as the bell sounded.

The referee's count reached seven before Woodhall pulled himself up, but there was no way back for the Telford fighter.

Woodhall will now take time to consider his future.


Richie proved he is a good fighter through 10 tough rounds
  Joe Calzaghe

"Hopefully I will be back," he said. "But I will have to give it a lot of consideration because I'm going to give myself a break and see where I go from there."

Calzaghe believes Francis made "the right decision" by stopping the fight when he did, adding: "I'm glad he stepped in at that point.

"But Richie proved he is a good fighter through 10 tough rounds.

"He caught me with some good right hands and left hooks, but I put my combinations together and managed to finish the fight."

Sven Ottke retained his IBF super-middleweight title by winning a unanimous points decision over Italian Silvio Branco.

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