Mon, Jul 02, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Sturm retains world title with unanimous decision

`COAL MAN' BEATEN Felix Sturm praised his Uruguayan opponent's durability after triumphing in their 12-round contest in Stuttgart on points

AP , STUTTGART, GERMANY

Germany's middleweight WBA world champion Felix Sturm, left, punches Noe Tulio Gonzales Alcoba from Uruguay during their WBA World Championship fight in Stuttgart, Germany, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Felix Sturm retained his WBA middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Noe Tulio Gonzalez Alcoba of Uruguay on Saturday.

Sturm dominated the 12-round fight and raised his record to 28-2 with 12 knockouts. He was fighting only two months after regaining the title by beating Javier Castillejo, also on points.

The son of Bosnian immigrants who fights for Germany, Sturm easily weathered whatever Alcoba could throw at him.

The judges scored the fight 120-108, 118-110 and 116-112.

Alcoba, based in Argentina, suffered his first defeat after 14 wins (seven KOs).

Known as El Carbonero (the coal man), Alcoba kept coming forward, trying to shake the champion with body blows. But Sturm blocked the punches with his arms and closely held hands, rarely enabling Alcoba to get through.

"It was amazing what he took and still kept coming at me. He deserves great respect," Sturm said.

Sturm is not known for having a hard punch, but his quick hands scored almost at will with right-left combinations.

Alcoba threw a large number of punches, but connected with few.

Sturm deflected Alcoba's punches off his gloves, then stepped back and hit the Uruguayan with left and right hooks and crosses.

Alcoba caught Sturm with a right late in the seventh round but the champion never wavered.

The pattern of the fight remained unaltered with Alcoba coming forward relentlessly only to have his head snapped back by Sturm's quick punches.

By the 10th round, Alcoba began to tire, dropping his hands low and giving Sturm a bigger target.

Alcoba's right eye began to swell in the 11th.

In the final round, Alcoba erupted with a last flurry. Sturm countered and hit the challenger at will, but Alcoba stayed upright and finished on his feet.

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