Sullivan knocks way back into contention

Victory keeps heavyweight in line for WBO title shot


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Heavyweight Obed Sullivan always seems to be on the periphery, on the verge of a break-through toward earning a shot at a big-money fight or title shot.

That was the case when the Phoenix native lost earlier fights to Hasirm Rahman, Michael Grant and, even against journeyman Jesse Ferguson.

It was that way again last night at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom in the Boardwalk Convention Hall at Bally's Park Place, as Sullivan dispatched pudgy, 242-pound Matt Green (11-5, nine KOs) at 1 minute, 10 seconds of the third round.

Sullivan's 23rd knockout raised his record to 33-5-1. But more importantly, it kept the ex-Marine on course for a fight with World Boxing Organization champ Vitali Klitscko.

Sullivan had his way with Green from the outset, connecting to the head and to his flabby body until the North Carolina native retreated to his corner, turning his back toward Sullivan to shield himself from further harm.

Veteran referee Frank Capuccino came to the rescue, stepping between the two fighters and waving an end to the lopsided affair.

Sullivan was appearing as part of a fight card, that, in fact, featured one of the fighters responsible for handing him one of his five losses.

The main event featured heavyweights Rahman (31-1, 26 knock-outs) and Russian Oleg Maskaev (17-2, l2 KOs).

Rahrnan, of Baltimore, is ranked No 5 by the International Boxing Federation and No. 7 by the World Boxing Council. Maskaev is ranked No. 4 by the World Boxing Association.

The event took place in the wake of several recent indictments against officials of the International Boxing Federation, including president Robert W. Lee, 65, which rates Rahman its fifth contender.

Rahman also is a former champ with the United States Boxing Association, which later became the IBF.

In another recent development, Lee Samuels a spokesman for Top Rank Inc, said Oscar De La Hoya's promoter Bob Arum and Felix Trinidad's promoter, Don King, will meet with TVKO executives Lou DiBella and other TVKO officials Saturday to begin negotiating a rematch.

World Boxing Council and IBF champ Trinidad (36-0, 30 KOs) won a controversial 12-round decision over De La Hoya (31-1, 25 KOs) in September in Las Vegas.

"The rematch is expected to be mid-summer or late fall," Samuels said "There's a lot of split opinions about who won that fight, and Oscar's very anxious to get him back into the ring."

In an earlier preliminary fight, New Jersey's Damon Saulbury survived a bloody nose and a vicious attack from Scott Chestnut in the first round to score a technical knockout at 2:02 of the second round of their scheduled four-round bout.

Saulbury, in his pro debut shook Chestnut with a left hook that sent the North Carolina fighter to a neutral corner. There, Saulbury nailed him to the head and body a combined eight times before the referee signaled stopped the fight.

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