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World Weekend Boxing Roundup: Thurman, Bellew Win Big Fights

Two undefeated welterweight world champions tangled at Barclays Center in the American city of Brooklyn on Saturday night and after an entertaining scrap, one fighter emerged with the WBC and WBA titles around his waist.

It was Keith Thurman, 28-0 (22), who kept his undefeated record intact after figuring out the game plan to beat arch-rival Danny Garcia, 33-1 (19), after 12 rounds of combat.

Thurman kicked things off with a full out attack on Garcia and managed to land the heavier shots but the Florida man couldn't seriously hurt his Philadelphia based opponent.

By the middle rounds, Garcia had begin to effectively time Thurman and was gaining control of the contest, landing hard blows in Thurman's weak spot, the body.

Thurman countered with a stick and move approach in the later rounds that Garcia could not solve and force his adversary to fight.

When the scorecards were read, Thurman won two by margins of 116-112 and 115-113 while Garcia captured the third 115-113.

Thurman proved to be the better mover and fought well from the outside, largely avoiding a close quarters scrap, in which Garcia showed his dominance. Many rounds were very close and that could produce a rematch.

This pairing was the most anticipated contest of the year thus far in the states but did not live up to expectations as Thurman's safety first approach failed to deliver the sustained, spirited exchanges that many had expected.

Across the pond in jolly old England there was another greatly awaited bout on Saturday night as heavyweight antagonists David Haye, 28-3 (26), and Tony Bellew, 29-2-1 (21), went at it tooth and nail at the 02 Arena in London.

Reigning WBC cruiserweight champion Bellew was making his first foray in the higher weight class to face bitter rival Haye, himself a former unified cruiserweight and WBA heavyweight titlist.

Haye had recently come off a four year hiatus from the sport but showed no ring rust as he tore after Bellew from the outset. This was not surprising given the bad-blood build up to this fight.

Bellew showed surprising durability to take Haye's massive power shots and remain upright. The Liverpool man took heart from this and started to use his edge in defensive quickness and make Haye miss.

Bellew started to punish Haye for those mistakes, showing excellent footwork, head movement and countering skills. By the middle rounds, Haye was starting to tire from loading up and missing his big swings.

Disaster struck Haye in the sixth frame when he injured his leg and found his ability to move and also push off for his punches severely compromised. The Bermondsey man showed tremendous heart in refusing to give up but from that point on Bellew had a massive advantage and was battering Haye from pillar to post.

Haye hit the floor but bravely beat the count and carried on, trying to end things with one big shot but was absorbing punishment round after round until he was knocked down again, this time through the ropes, in the 11th round, prompting his corner to throw in the towel.

Bellew, who reportedly broke his hand early in the contest, now has to decide to either stay at heavyweight and pursue a title fight or return to the cruiserweights and defend his title.

Haye must assess his career prospects once he heals from his injury as his world title ambitions suffer a serious setback.

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