Forrest, Tarver defend titles

Associated Press
Former Augustan Vernon Forrest (right) hit Michele Piccirillo of Italy during the WBC super welterweight title fight at Foxwoods Casino and Resort on Saturday. Forrest beat Piccirillo by knock out in the 11th round.

LEDYARD, Conn. --- Antonio Tarver stopped Danny Santiago in the fourth round Saturday night to retain his IBO light heavyweight title.


Vernon Forrest also successfully defended his WBC super welterweight title, stopping Italy's Michele Piccirillo at 2:21 of the 11th round after landing two crushing right hands.

Tarver used a series of combinations to score a technical knockout victory over Danny Santiago of Ocala, Fla., at 2:53 of Round 4 at Foxwoods Arena.

Tarver (26-4) moved methodically in the first two rounds, rarely throwing more than one punch at a time and barely fazing Santiago (29-4-1).

In Round 4, Tarver used a combination to put Santiago down. Santiago got up, but Tarver finished him off with another flurry of combinations that dropped Santiago to one knee. Referee Steve Smoger immediately called a halt to the bout.

It was the first title defense for Forrest (40-2). The former Augustan won the WBC crown with a unanimous decision over Carlos Baldomir in July. Forrest landed a looping right hand midway through the fourth round that stunned Piccirillo (48-4), but the challenger quickly regrouped.

Forrest landed a similar punch near the end of the fifth round, but with less authority.

In the sixth round, Forrest delivered a blow that was close to being in the back of the head that dropped Piccirillo to one knee, but referee Arthur Mercante Jr. ruled it was a clean punch that led to the knockdown.

Piccirillo was wobbled by a right hand in the seventh, but stayed on his feet. In the ninth, Forest dropped Piccirillo with a stinging right hand for the second knockdown of the bout. Forrest continued to dominate the bout until putting Piccirillo away in the 11th.



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