Mon, Nov 26, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Arslan pounds Hill to take his WBA cruiserweight title

AP , DRESDEN, GERMANY

Germany's Firat Arslan, right, hits Virgil Hill from the US during their WBA Cruiserweight World Championship boxing match in Dresden, Germany, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Firat Arslan took away Virgil Hill's WBA cruiserweight title on Saturday, battering the American with lefts to gain a unanimous decision.

Left hooks by the Turkish-born German staggered Hill in the ninth and 10th rounds as he took control of a fight the judges ruled 118-110, 116-113 and 117-111.

Arslan ended Hill's two decades of being a world champion, which began when he stopped Leslie Stewart on Sept. 5, 1987 to claim the WBA lightheavyweight crown for the first time.

The 43-year-old Hill (50-7 with 23 knockouts) has lost three of his last four fights and said he was considering retiring.

"We're going to look at that," Hill said. "I trained so hard for this fight -- I think I need a vacation."

Hill was listed as regular cruiserweight champion in the WBA's convoluted rankings, but British fighter David Haye is ranked as the "united champion" as the combined WBC-WBA titleholder.

Arslan (28-3-1 with 18 knockouts) crowded Hill from the start and kept landing the left, jerking the North Dakota fighter's head backward with uppercuts. In the ninth round, he staggered the American for the first time with a left hook.

"You got him, you got him," the German's corner yelled at Arslan after the round.

Arslan, who isn't known for power, tagged Hill several more times during the ninth round. The American's troubles continued in the 10th, as he took several more shots and the fight slipped away on the judge's cards.

This was the first title fight for the 37-year-old Arslan, who started boxing when he was 18.

"I waited 20 years for my chance -- sometimes it didn't go so well, but you have to be patient," Arslan said.

Hill has now fought 29 world champion fights, holding the WBA lightheavyweight title twice for a long run lasting nearly 10 years.

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