Coley wins split decision, keeps NABF title On rebound, welterweight proves too strong for Wise

March 11, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

A year ago, welterweight contender Derrell Coley seriously considered quitting boxing, frustrated by failing to get a world title shot and bickering with his manager, Barry Linde.

But last night, after successfully defending his North American Boxing Federation crown by winning a 12-round split decision over Willy Wise, Coley was talking confidently of challenging World Boxing Council champion Oscar De La Hoya this fall.

Judge Gary Meritt favored Wise, 115-113, but Coley kept his title when Gary Camponeschi and Emil Conforti voted 115-113 and 117-112, respectively, in his favor.

Fighting before a sellout crowd of 2,250 at the Pikesville Armory and a national cable TV audience, the 27-year-old Maryland native proved a bit quicker and stronger than the light-punching Wise, who was forced to lose close to 6 pounds the night before the fight to make the 147-pound limit.

The angular Coley (32-1-2) used his hook to win most of the fight's heated exchanges.

Wise (22-4-4), from Westbury, N.Y., was fighting mainly to pay the medical bills for his son, Dominique, who is afflicted by seizures.

Earlier, heavyweight contender David Tua needed more than half the fight to solve Jeff Wooden's left-handed style, but the hard-punching Samoan turned up the power in the last five rounds to escape with a majority decision.

Ranked fourth by the WBC, Tua (29-1) missed repeatedly with wild overhand rights in the early rounds. But he used a withering body attack to wear down Wooden (17-6), who relied almost exclusively on his jab.

In other bouts:

Unbeaten junior welterweight Zab Judah (14-0-1), of Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the top young ring prospects, settled for a second-round technical draw after an accidental head butt opened a gash on Esteban Flores-Garcia (8-5-1).

Washington welterweight Anthony Fields (7-0) swept all four rounds against David Williams (2-4-1) of Houston.

Former kick-boxing champion Kathy Long, from Pasadena, Calif., made a successful boxing debut with a unanimous, four-round decision over Sandra Yard (3-1-1) of Palm Desert, Calif.

Pub Date: 3/11/98

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