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Joe Calzaghe
"The better the opponent I fight the better I perform"
 real 14k

BBC's Simon Brotherton
"A fierce, intense, hard-hitting fight"
 real 14k

Saturday, 12 August, 2000, 21:14 GMT 22:14 UK
Calzaghe retains WBO title
Joe Calzaghe
Calzaghe sinks to his knee after stopping Sheika
Welshman Joe Calzaghe battered Omar Sheika to a fifth-round stoppage to successfully defend his WBO super-middleweight title at Wembley.

Referee Gino Rodriguez brought the fight to an end after two minutes and eight seconds of the fifth round when Calzaghe had turned Sheika's face into a bloody mess, inflicting cuts above both eyes.

From the start, it was clear Sheika had come to win the title, but could not match Calzaghe's ferocity.

After the fight, the Welshman said: "I performed the best I've performed for a long long time."

Calzaghe will hope this win silences the critics who have complained of his lacklustre performances in recent fights.

Old demons

It was a decisive victory desperately needed by Calzaghe to dispell growing doubts over his right to the crown after his dismal defence against David Starie in Manchester in January.

Joe Calzaghe
The referee steps in
Sheika, managed by former mentors of Mike Tyson, Bill Cayton and Steve Lott, went for broke throwing some powerful punches but was not ready for the superb counter-attacking of Calzaghe.

Sheika's face had become covered in blood after a head clash on the bell to end round four and a cut started around his left eye.

The champion began an onslaught in the fifth that opened a cut above the other eye, and then cranked up another gear before the referee stepped in to stop the battering.

Sheika who is considered the top prospect from the States, was ruled out on his feet.

Training

Calzaghe will be especially pleased as this is first fight that he has been able to train properly for in the last two years.

The southpaw has been "riddled with injuries" since 1998.

Calzaghe's manager Frank Warren was delighted with the result: "He's done it in great style. We had to get back to basics but it was worth it."

However the manager indicated there is more work to do, saying: "He's going to fight again at the end of October."

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13 Aug 00 |  Photo Galleries
Joe Calzaghe v Omar Sheika - in pictures
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