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Moreno retains WBA bantamweight title


Anselmo Moreno of Panama has retained his WBA bantamweight title with a split decision over Mahyar Monshipour of France. Moreno (26-1-1) kept his composure Saturday as Monshipour pressured strongly between the eighth and 10th rounds. Two of the judges scored the bout 116-113 and 116-112 in favor of Moreno, while the third gave the fight to Monshipour 115-113. Moreno, whose only loss was in 2002, started strongly, catching Monshipour with a left hook in the first round a several sharp jabs in the second.

The Panamanian got caught with a couple of shots, but used his speed and longer reach to keep the Monshipour at bay. The Frenchman fought back beginning in the eighth round, and the crowd at Poitier’s Parc des Expositions were on their feet in the 11th as Monshipour kept charging forward gamely. Moreno stayed calm and picked him off, and the fighter nicknamed “Little Tyson” could not land enough clean punches to catch up on the scorecards.

The 34-year-old Monshipour (31-4-2) returned to boxing in December, nearly three years after losing his super bantamweight title to Thailand’s Somsak Sithchatchawal in a brutal fight in March 2006.

Prior to his defeat, Monshipour’s comeback had seen him win all three of his fights against Emiliano Salvini of Italy, Britain’s Sean Hughes and Venezuela’s Felix Machado.