Boxing

Xiong defends WBC strawweight title

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)

China's Xiong Zhao Zhong picked himself up off the canvas to outpoint Denver Cuello of the Philippines on Friday night to retain the WBC strawweight title.

Considered the best boxer from China, Xiong struggled early in the 12-round fight against the veteran Cuello, who connected with a left hook in the first round that sent the champion to the ground. But with Cuello injuring his right shoulder in the buildup to the fight, Xiong recovered and began to control the bout.

Xiong landed several good punches in the fourth round and again in the eighth when the ringside doctor was called to treat Cuello. By the ninth round, Cuello was bleeding from his forehead. Xiong won the split decision 115-112, 113-110, 113-113.

Xiong improved to 21-4-1. Cuello fell to 33-5-6.

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