Laila Ali knocks out O'Neil

Updated: 22 March 2007 06:37 IST

Laila Ali successfully defended her WBC and WIBA titles by knocking out Gwendolyn O'Neil 56 seconds into their scheduled 10-round super middleweight fight

Laila Ali knocks out O'Neil

Johannesburg:

Laila Ali successfully defended her WBC and WIBA titles by knocking out Gwendolyn O'Neil 56 seconds into their scheduled 10-round super middleweight fight on Saturday.Ali, the daughter of boxing great Muhammad Ali, headlined the first women's professional bout in South Africa.She improved to 24-0 with 21 knockouts. "I have my cell phone back in the dressing room, and I will be giving my father a call," she said.It took just two straight rights from Ali before English referee Ian John Lewis counted out the 37-year-old challenger from Guyana.Ali apologized to the crowd, including former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, for the brevity of the fight. "I would have liked to have shown the fans a few more rounds, but, hey, I'm happy with the KO," she said.The celebrated women's boxing champion later disclosed that it would probably be her last fight for some time, as she intended having her first child and going into temporary retirement.Mandatory eight-countFelled on her back by the first right, O'Neil took a mandatory eight-count. Floored again by the second right, O'Neil was counted out staggering to her feet. Her record fell to 12-1-5.The 29-year-old Ali also knocked out O'Neil in the third round in 2004 in Atlanta."I was out to make it quicker than the last time," Ali said. "But I did not expect it to be this quick."Ali took a punch to her left eye in early exchanges and was unable to see out of it."I was glad to land that first right and have a chance to let it clear," she said.She battled to make the 76.2 kg weight limit at Friday's weigh-in, managing to do so by just 2 grams after stripping naked and weighing in behind a covering screen.



Topics : Boxing
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