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Crawford knocks out Avanesyan and retains his WBO title

Terence Crawford, right, boxes David Avanesyan in a World Boxing Organization welterweight title bout, Saturday, December 10, 2022, in Omaha, Nebraska.  Crawford knocked out Avanesyan in the sixth.  (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)
Terence Crawford, right, boxes David Avanesyan in a World Boxing Organization welterweight title bout, Saturday, December 10, 2022, in Omaha, Nebraska. Crawford knocked out Avanesyan in the sixth. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)

OMAHA, Nebraska, USA (AP) — Undefeated world champion Terence Crawford knocked out David Avanesyan in the sixth round on Saturday to retain his WBO welterweight title.

Crawford, fighting for the first time in more than a year, left the challenger reeling with a quick succession of punches before landing a right hand to the chin that sent Avanesyan to the canvas 2 minutes, 14 seconds into the round.

“I was hitting him in the body, and I could see it having an effect,” Crawford said later. “I had my guard up and I picked up the pace. There were rounds of punching, I saw an opening and took advantage of it, and the rest is history.”

Crawford was fighting in his city for the sixth time as a professional and the first since 2018, and people began chanting his name even before the presentations.

The video-on-demand bout was agreed to after negotiations for a fight between Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. collapsed in October.

Crawford did not specifically mention Spence and said he would consider anyone who wanted to fight, preferably in the spring.

The 35-year-old Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) didn’t look rusty in his first bout since defeating Shawn Porter in the 10th round on Nov. 20, 2021.

Avanesyan (29-4-1), who had fought in March and beat Oskari Metz on points, held his own for the first five rounds.

The defending champion started with an unorthodox stance, but then changed in the first round and held for the rest of the duel.

He first used an effective uppercut to neutralize Avanesyan, but the Russian never backed down. Crawford attacked him with a combination of head and body shots in the fourth and landed several solid body shots in the fifth, before taking control of the fight in the sixth.

Crawford landed three straight blows to the chin, staggered him with a couple of body shots, and then landed the decisive punch that dropped Avanesyan.

In the other bout of the night, former MMA star Cris Cyborg won a four-round unanimous decision over Gabrielle Holloway (0-3) in her professional boxing debut.

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