GLASGOW, Scotland -- Nigel Benn was stunned by a solid right just before the final bell but still won a unanimous decision yesterday over Mario Galvano to hang on to his World Boxing Council super-middleweight title.
Though well ahead on points, Benn left himself open to a late counter-attack, and Galvano, a former champion from Italy, unloaded the right hand to the chin.
Benn wobbled but survived the follow-up blows. When the final bell sounded, he staggered back to his corner.
"He caught me with a good shot and my legs went," Benn admitted. "But I've still got my belt."
Galvano, jeered throughout the fight for his stalling tactics, finished with blood seeping from a cut under his left eye.
Judge Louis Michel of France scored it 117-113, Bob Logist of Belgium had it 118-112 and Lazaro Carrazco of Spain saw it 118-114 in favor of Benn, who improved to 36-2-0 in his second defense. He won the title from Galvano in Marino, Italy, near Rome, in a controversial decision last October.
In that bout, Galvano suffered a gash above his left eye in the third round. His handlers, believing it was caused by an accidental clash of heads, claimed the fight should have been declared a technical draw. Instead, the referee ruled it was caused by a punch and Benn was handed the title.
Galvano, who won the title vacated by Sugar Ray Leonard in 1990, is now 22-3-2.
Galvano's fight plan appeared to be helped by referee Tony Perez of New York, who often did nothing about the Italian's constant holding whenever the fighters got close.
Perez did warn Galvano once, for hitting on the break in the seventh. Galvano was lucky not to receive another for hitting Benn after the British fighter had accidentally slipped to one knee in the second.
The 6-foot-1 Galvano outreached Benn and stopped the big-hitting champion from unloading his heavy punches. When Benn found the target, Galvano usually was moving backward.
Benn landed a left hook and a follow-up right in the ninth but failed to floor Galvano. In the 10th, Galvano invited Benn to hit him while on the ropes and the champion delivered a right hand that got through.
But again the Italian survived and finally came up with his unexpected finish.
Benn was half crouching when Galvano sliced the short right hand through his defense. If it had happened a few seconds earlier, Galvano might have regained his title.
About 4,000 fans watched the bout at the Scottish Exhibition Center.
Wamba, Vasquez win
LEVALLOIS, France -- Anclat Wamba of France and Wilfredo Vasquez of Puerto Rico defended world titles with decisions over challengers.
Wamba defended his World Boxing Council cruiserweight title over American David Vedder, and Vasquez held onto to his World Boxing Association super-bantamweight crown over Colombian Luis Mendoza.
Neither fight provided much excitement and the champion of the respective divisions won each of the 12-round bouts without much trouble or power.
Wamba, originally from the Congo, is 40-2. Vedder, 28-12, lost his second title fight in less than three months. Last December, he bowed to Australian Jeff Harding in a WBC light-heavyweight fight.
Mendoza had the WBA title in 1990 and 1991 before losing it to Mexican Raul Perez in October 1991. Perez lost it to Vasquez a year ago.
Mendoza is 33-2-3 with 20 KOs. Vasquez is 34-3-6 with 28 KOs.
BANGKOK, Thailand -- Pichit Sitbangprachan of Thailand successfully defended his International Boxing Federation flyweight title by stopping Antonio Perez of Mexico in the fourth round.
Pichit floored Perez with a left hook in the fourth round. The challenger got up, but was caught in a corner by Pichit, and took a two-fisted beating until the referee stopped the fight.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Russell Roberts has worked with weights since failing to win a U.S. amateur boxing title last year, and Arturo Hoffman could be excused for thinking that the weights were in Roberts' gloves.
Roberts, a 20-year-old apprentice electrician from Gretna, La., jumped all over Hoffman and stopped the defending 112-pound champion at2:34 of the first round.
Hoffman, an 18-year-old high school senior from Dade City, Fla., outpointed Roberts in the 1992 final.
"I've been working with weights and feel like I'm stronger and have more stamina," Roberts said.
Roberts rocked Hoffman with several counter punches, then knocked him down with three overhand rights.
"I could see he was out of it after the first overhand right," Roberts said.
Hoffman then was forced to take a standing 8-count, and the fight was stopped when he was knocked down again.
Albert Guardado, a 19-year-old college freshman, was expected to get a boxing lesson from veteran internationalist Bradley Martinez in the 106-pound final at the Broadmoor World Arena.
When the bout ended, however, the professor was muttering and the student was beaming.
Outboxed in the first round, Guardo, who lives in Topeka, Kan., where he attends Washburn University, came on to score a 39-18 victory over Martinez, the defending champion, who is stationed at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
"I thought I won, but I was surprised the scores were that far apart," Guardado said.
"I just outboxed him," Martinez complained. "I boxed his socks off."
Julian Wheeler, a 1992 Olympian and the only other defending champion in the competition, had just too much height, reach and experience for 17-year-old Frank Carmona of Los Angeles in the 125-pound final.
Wheeler, of the Navy at Virginia Beach, Va., won 47-22.
The shortest bout of the night was the 147-pound final.
Hector Colon, a hospital security guard in Milwaukee, knocked out Jesse Brisena, a Northern Michigan University Student, with an overhand right at 1:13 of the first round.
The referee did not start a count and a physician got into the ring immediately. Brisena was on the canvas for about a minute.