Sat, Feb 24, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Morrison beats HIV, drugs to KO Castle

AP , CHESTER, WEST VIRGINIA

Former WBO heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison, left, lands a left on John Castle in the first round of their boxing match in Chester, West Virginia, on Thursday. Morrison stopped Castle in the second round in his return to the ring 11 years after testing positive for HIV.

PHOTO: AP

Former WBO heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison stopped John Castle in the second round on Thursday in his return to the ring 11 years after testing positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

The 38-year-old Morrison, who claims he has no trace of the virus after taking several HIV tests, dropped Castle with a left hook to the head midway through the second of the scheduled four-round fight at Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort, about 100km northwest of Pittsburgh.

Castle slowly got up and referee Dave Johnson counted to eight before stopping the match.

Morrison (47-1-3), who until that point had landed few punches, fell to his knees afterward and raised his arms skyward.

Castle hadn't fought in nearly two years but said he wasn't going to fight Morrison until he personally reviewed Morrison's medical records. He got the chance to do so about four hours before the fight.

Morrison won the WBO title in 1993 by outpointing George Foreman. He lost it later that year. Morrison, who was featured in the movie Rocky V, also served a couple of years in an Arkansas prison on drug and weapons charges.

In February 1996, Morrison tested HIV positive just before a scheduled fight against Stormy Weathers. At the time, Morrison said he had likely contracted the disease through a promiscuous sex life.

Morrison said earlier this week he has taken several HIV tests while preparing for his comeback and all have been negative.

West Virginia Athletic Commissioner Steve Allred approved Morrison's participation after reviewing medical records and consulting with the Association of Boxing Commissions' medical review committee.

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