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BOXING ROUNDUP : Blocker Reaches Out, Takes Starling’s Title

From Associated Press

Maurice Blocker, taking advantage of a five-inch height advantage and a 2 1/2-inch margin in reach over Marlon Starling, won the World Boxing Council welterweight title on a majority decision Sunday at Reno.

“Last time I went in to fight for the belt. This time I came to take the belt,” Blocker said.

Judges Miguel Donate of Puerto Rico and Lynn Carter of New Jersey scored the fight 115-113 for Blocker, and Judge Chuck Giampa of Las Vegas saw it even at 114-114. The Associated Press scored it 115-113 for Blocker.

Blocker, at 6-foot-1, towered over the 5-8 Starling, but didn’t hesitate to fight the champion inside.

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Blocker’s only loss in 32 professional bouts was a 1987 decision to Lloyd Honeyghan for the WBC version of the title. Starling beat Honeyghan for the title a year later, stopping him in nine rounds.

An unintentional head butt opened a deep cut under Starling’s left eyebrow in the seventh round. His corner slowed the flow of blood between the remaining rounds, but the cut bothered him.

After a slow first round, the fighters started mixing it up in the second. Starling (45-6-1) won the middle rounds on most of the scorecards, but faded in the last three. There were no knockdowns.

Blocker, of Washington, D.C., was the No. 1 WBC contender going into the fight. He received $79,000. Starling, of Hartford, Conn., got $164,000.

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Third-ranked heavyweight contender Razor Ruddock of Canada overwhelmed Kimmuel Odum of Gary, Ind., and knocked him out in the third round of a scheduled 10-round bout at Atlantic City, N.J.

Ruddock, 24-1-1 with 18 knockouts, floored Odum with a right uppercut and a left hook to the head with two seconds remaining in the round.

Odum, 13-4 with 12 knockouts, couldn’t handle Ruddock’s continual pressure and scored only with short flurries that had little impact.

Referee Rudy Battle deducted a point from Ruddock’s score because he knocked down Odum with a left hook seconds after the bell ending the second round.

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