Sun, Sep 26, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Laila Ali takes championship


Laila Ali, daughter of former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, won the International Women's Boxing Federation light heavyweight championship Friday by knocking out Gwendolyn O'Neil at 1:59 of the third round.

Ali knocked O'Neil down twice in the second round, each time with a right hand to the chin, as the crowd estimated at 6,000 chanted "Ali, Ali, Ali" for the 26-year old, who improved to 19-0 with 16 KOs.

The 1.7m, 78.3kg Ali began pounding O'Neil late in the third round and ended the fight with a barrage of punches to the face, knocking O'Neil down in a neutral corner where she sat stunned as she was counted out.

O'Neil, from Guyana, fell to 9-4-1 with six knockouts. She was ranked No. 6 by the IWBF.

Ali used the fight as a tuneup for her Oct. 30 bout against Jacqui Frazier in Kinshasa, Congo, where her father fought in the storied "Rumble in the Jungle.

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