BY PAUL OWEN, FREELANCENOVEMBER 14, 2009
Leaving Edmonton with the WBC lightweight title at the expense of Edmonton's Jelena Mrdjenovich is becoming an old hand for Ann Marie Saccurato.
Saccurato (15-4-2) knocked Mrdjenovich down in the third and fourth rounds and escaped with an emotional 96-94, 94-94, 95-93 majority victory to retain her title belt Friday night at the Redemption boxing card at the Shaw Conference Centre.
"I'm happy with the outcome. I'm not happy with certain things that I couldn't pull off that I would have liked to, technically, in the ring," said Saccurato, who hails from White Plains, N.Y.
The fight started well for Saccurato, as her first punch of the bout caught Mrdjenovich on the left eye, and another shot in the second round swelled up the other. Saccurato then caught Mrdjenovich off balance and sent her to the mat in the third, and again in the fourth with a vicious right hand.
Mrdjenovich fought back after the second knockdown, however, bloodying Saccurato's nose in the sixth round and cutting open her forehead in the ninth.
"I definitely wanted to finish it, but I knew I was jumping in too much. I was getting too anxious and I was falling away from my game plan, so I was just trying to settle down some, which I didn't do as well as I would have liked to," Saccurato explained.
The tide almost turned in Mrdjenovich's favour in the ninth round when Saccurato was penalized a point for punching Mrdjenovich in the back of the head after being repeatedly warned by referee Don Smart, but it wasn't enough to overcome the early lead built by Saccurato.
For Mrdjenovich, the loss marks disappointment after a three-year wait for a rematch with Saccurato after losing to her in a split-decision in November 2006 for the WBC lightweight title.
"All I have to say is that it was a great fight for women's boxing. I thought it wasn't deserving of a draw, but it was a great fight ... and that's what we need," said a curt Mrdjenovich after the fight.
In other action Friday, Ryan Henney of Saskatoon improved to 14-3-0 with a technical knockout of David Whittom when Whittom's corner stopped the fight after the third round. Henney was supposed to be fighting Canadian cruiserweight champ Frank White, but Whittom was substituted when White tore his rotator cuff.
Steve Claggett (5-0-1) remained undefeated with a unanimous victory over Scott Paul or Niagara Falls, Ont. 59-54, 59-54, 60-53 in their lightweight match-up.
Anthony Lessard(8-4-2) avenged a five-year-old loss that resulted in a broken nose in just his second professional fight. Lessard won a unanimous decision over Darren Kenny (5-28-1) in their junior middleweight bout after knocking him down in the fourth round.
"I got hit with a punch that I didn't see, that's why I went down," Kenny admitted. "That's what happens when you're 43."
Lindsay Garbatt (4-2-0) took down hometown favourite Ayana Pelletier with a unanimous victory in their lightweight fight. Despite aggravating an old knee injury in the second round of six, Garbatt was able to overcome Pelletier's reach advantage, drawing blood from her nose and earning the victory.
In the opening bout, Brad Marks (2-0-0) of Edmonton made quick work of Corey Lautischer (0-1-0), also of Edmonton in the latter's professional debut. Marks scored a technical knockout at 1:32.
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