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BOXING IN IRVINE : Sullivan Gives Billups a Surprise

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Lancaster heavyweight Obed Sullivan upset San Diego’s Levi Billups Thursday night by scoring an eight-round split-decision victory in front of 1,068 at the Irvine Marriott.

Sullivan didn’t appear surprised that he beat Billups, a former top-10 heavyweight who went the distance three years ago against former world champion Lennox Lewis. If anything, he sounded disappointed in his performance.

“I underestimated Billups,” Sullivan said. “He’s not just a bum. He’s a good fighter.”

But Sullivan (9-1-1) was clearly the better fighter. He controlled the first four rounds, then put Billups (19-10) down on his face in the fifth with a fierce right hook that landed flush on Billups’ jaw. Billups survived the round and actually took the last two rounds, but it was too late.

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He lost the fight, 76-75, on two scorecards and somehow won, 78-73, on judge Lou Filippo’s card.

“I’m disappointed I didn’t get the knockout,” Sullivan said. “I have to be patient when I get a boxer hurt.”

Junior featherweight Joe Manzano (10-3) of San Pedro pitched a shutout on all three scorecards in his co-main event eight-round victory over Oscar Saenz (10-4) of San Diego. Manzano effectively counter-punched during the first six rounds, then went on the attack in the last two rounds.

In a five-round bantamweight bout, crowd favorite Johnny Vasquez (3-3) of Huntington Beach won a unanimous decision over Salvador Perez of Rosewood, who was making his professional debut.

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In the first bout, junior welterweight Ray Orozco (2-3-1) of Baldwin Park knocked out Jesus Valdez (0-2) in 39 seconds with a barrage of punches.

Junior middleweight Don (The Thugg) Goodwin (3-2) of Canoga Park floored Terry Wright (1-1) of San Diego with a left hook at 2:50 of the opening round. Wright stumbled to his feet but was staggering against the ropes as the bell rang. The ringside doctor stepped in and stopped the fight.


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