Rahman looks to keep rolling in July 28 bout

Aiming for 4th straight victory, ex-champion to face English foe

Boxing

July 08, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Baltimore native Hasim Rahman will go after his fourth win in five months when he faces hard-punching left-hander Wayne Llewelyn of England on July 28 in Rochester, N.Y.

The former world champion's unanimous-decision loss to John Ruiz in December dropped him to 0-3-1 in the four bouts that followed his April 2001 knockout of Lennox Lewis for the undisputed world title.

But Rahman (38-5-1, 31 knockouts) has rebounded with three consecutive victories and will continue his ambitious rebuilding schedule against Llewelyn (27-5, 20 knockouts), who is 6 feet 3 and 275 pounds.

Llewelyn had won six straight fights - three by knockout - before being KO'd in the first round by contender Jameel McCline in his last outing in April.

Although it will be Rahman's first fight at the city's Frontier Field, a 10,300-seat stadium, it will be the former champion's fourth time in Rochester, where he knocked out James Johnson in 1995, beat Ross Puritty by decision in '96 and knocked out Jeff Wooden in '97.

"Part of the reason for going to Rochester is the continuation of the process that we've started of going back to Rock's roots in terms of where he had early success and established his fan base," said Rahman's co-manager, Steve Nelson. "It's all about going back to the basics, back to where it all began. The difference is that it's going to be a much faster path to the title."

By virtue of his No. 1 rating by the World Boxing Association, Rahman is the mandatory challenger to Ruiz's WBA crown. Ruiz must defend against Rahman before April of next year, but Rahman hopes promoter Don King, whom he shares with Ruiz, can persuade Ruiz to fight him sooner.

Rahman has returned to trainer Adrian Davis, whom he fired after losing his rematch with Lewis. Rahman also has been living at his Fallston home rather than the one he purchased in Las Vegas in August.

Rahman also has fought two of his past three fights at Glen Burnie's Michael's Eighth Avenue, scoring a second-round knockout of Rob Calloway in his last bout June 17.

"For me to regain the heavyweight title, I need to be on a full-time, daily training schedule - not wait until I get a fight, start training and then drop 30 or 40 pounds and not be at 100 percent for the fight," said Rahman, 31. "The only way I can do that is stay in the gym, stay sharp. I'm running four and five miles daily. I'm in the gym every day. I'm really zoned in right now."

But Rahman could forget about any talk of winning the title if he loses to Llewelyn, who has not fought past eight rounds and who compiled his six-bout winning streak against rivals whose combined record was 26-56-3.

Llewelyn started 16-0 with 12 knockouts, but he has been knocked out in the first round three times and in two rounds once. His other loss was an eight-round decision to Augustin Corpus, who entered with a 7-6-3 record and is now 10-15-3 with eight knockouts.

Rahman last faced a tall lefty in Corrie Sanders, a hard-punching South African fighter, in May 2000 in Atlantic City, N.J.

En route to a seventh-round knockout, Rahman survived a knockdown before cornering Sanders and firing nearly 40 unanswered punches that forced the referee to stop the fight.

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