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Saturday, November 24, 2007
Unanimous decision for Arslan leaves Hill, 43, thinking retirement

Associated Press

DRESDEN, Germany -- Firat Arslan took away Virgil Hill's WBA cruiserweight title Saturday, battering the 43-year-old American with lefts in a unanimous decision.

The Turkish-born German's left hooks staggered Hill in the ninth and 10th rounds, and he went on to receive winning scores of 118-110, 116-113 and 117-111.

Arslan ended Hill's two-decade run as a world champion, which began when he stopped Leslie Stewart on Sept. 5, 1987, to claim the WBA light-heavyweight crown.

Hill (50-7 with 23 knockouts) has lost three of his last four fights and said he was considering retiring.

"We're going to look at that," Hill said. "I trained so hard for this fight. I think I need a vacation."

Hill was listed as the regular cruiserweight champion in the WBA's convoluted rankings, but British fighter David Haye is ranked as the "united champion" as the combined WBC-WBA titleholder.

Arslan (28-3-1 with 18 knockouts) crowded Hill from the start and kept landing the left, jerking the North Dakota fighter's head backward with uppercuts. In the ninth round, he staggered the American for the first time with a left hook.

"You got him, you got him," the German's corner yelled at Arslan after the round.

Arslan, who isn't known for power, tagged Hill several more times during the ninth round. The American's troubles continued in the 10th, as he took several more shots and the fight slipped away on the judge's cards.

This was the first title fight for the 37-year-old Arslan, who started boxing when he was 18.

"I waited 20 years for my chance -- sometimes it didn't go so well, but you have to be patient," Arslan said.

Hill has fought 29 world championship bouts. He held the WBA light-heavyweight title twice for a long run lasting nearly 10 years, and also was cruiserweight champion twice.

On the undercard, Hungary's Zsolt Erdei (28-0, 17 knockouts) defended his WBO light-heavyweight title for the ninth time with a split decision against Tito Mendoza.

Two judges ruled it 117-111 and 116-112 for Erdei, while the third called it 117-111 for the Panamanian.