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BOXING

Swedish boxer Badou Jack misses title after draw with Canada’s Adonis Stevenson

Haitian-born Canadian Adonis Stevenson retained his World Boxing Council light-heavyweight title on Saturday after fighting Sweden's Badou Jack to a majority draw in which no judge scored him a winner.

Swedish boxer Badou Jack misses title after draw with Canada's Adonis Stevenson
Badou Jack (L) punches Adonis Stevenson (R) during their WBC Light Heavyweight title fight in Toronto on Saturday. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFP
Stevenson, a 40-year-old southpaw, kept the title after two judges scored the bout 114-114 and the third saw Jack as a 115-113 winner in the title bout at Toronto. In a fight nobody lost, both fighters saw themselves as winners.
 
“I thought I definitely won the fight,” Jack said. “No judge had him winning.”
 
Stevenson's record went to 29-1-1 while Jack settled for his third career draw against 22 wins and a lone defeat.
 
“I feel I win the fight,” Stevenson said. “I hurt him in the body. He got slowed down. I keep pressure on him. He moved slick but I touched him more all the time. I think I win this fight.”
 
All three judges awarded Jack the 12th round to lift him into the draw, which could set the stage for a title rematch.
 
“I feel I win this fight but Badou is a good fighter, two-time world champion,” Stevenson said. “I can give him a rematch if he needs one.”
 
Jack is ready, but wants Stevenson to fight outside Canada for the first time since September 2011. On Twitter, the Swedish slugger set the stage for another bout against the Canadian. 
“Let's do a rematch. Let's do it in Vegas,” Jack said. “I came to his place. Now it's his turn to come to my place.”
 
Jack settled for a draw two fights ago in January 2017 with James DeGale and wondered if the fact he is promoted by retired unbeaten champion Floyd Mayweather played a role in his struggles to get more than draws.
 
“I have no idea,” Jack said. “It could be they are jealous of Floyd. I'm one of Floyd's top fighters. I don't know. I can't do anything about it. I'm not the judge. I've got to respect.”
 
Stevenson extended the second-longest active reign in boxing. He knocked out Chad Dawson for the crown in 2013 and since then stopped six of eight prior foes with two other victories by unanimous decision.
 
Stevenson, who had not fought since stopping Poland's Andrzej Fonfara last June in Montreal, dominated early but struggled late as Jack, with Mayweather at ringside cheering him on, bloodied the champion's nose in the eighth round and controled the pace to the finish.
 
Jack, a 2008 Olympian for his father's homeland of Gambia, owned the WBC super-middleweight crown from 2015 to 2017 and stopped Britain's Nathan Cleverly last August for the World Boxing Association crown, but relinquished the title for the chance to fight Stevenson.

BOXING

Swedish boxer holds on to world championship

US-based Swedish boxer Badou Jack earned a split decision over the UK’s George Groves to successfully defend his WBC super middleweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Swedish boxer holds on to world championship
Badou Jack holding aloft his WBC title belt. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The American-based Swede had the Englishman down in the first round, before Groves battled back to take an entertaining fight the full distance.

Two judges scored it 115-112 and 116-111 to the champion, the third judge giving it to Groves, 114-113.

Groves, 27, for whom it was a damaging third defeat in 25 fights, wasted no time in exiting the ring.

Jack, who improved to 20-1-1 and was making the first defence of his belt, said: “He's a hell of a fighter”.

“He was prepared to go 12 rounds and I should have got the KO, but I didn’t.

“I had him but got a little carried away. I wanted to knock him out,” he told Swedish newspaper Expressen after the fight.

“I felt much stronger than him. But he has a lot of experience; he was ranked number one in the world.”

“I will now take a vacation, go to Jamaica next week, and there are a lot of big fights for me now, a lot of big names.”

Sweden has long been ambivalent about boxing. When the 1912 Olympic games were held in Stockholm there was no boxing event as the sport was banned at the time.

After the ban was finally lifted, Ingemar Johansson from Gothenburg became the world heavyweight champion in 1959. Although several of his fights were in Sweden, his three landmark meetings with American Floyd Patterson – Johansson won the first one but lost the next two – were all in America. 

Johansson later won the European heavyweight title in Gothenburg in 1962.

Worries about the sport's safety soon resurfaced, however, and boxing was banned again in Sweden in 1970. That ban wasn't lifted until 2006 – and even then there were restrictions on the nature of contests. 

No professional fight can last longer than 12 minutes, a limitation that puts paid to the likes of Badou Jack defending their title on their home turf, as title bouts usually consist of 12 three-minute rounds.