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Joppy retains WBA belt on a TKO Middleweight batters McElroy in sixth


UPPER MARLBORO -- One man carried the look and punch of a light-heavyweight. The other appeared as if he were no more than a meal past the welterweight limit. Looks were not deceiving.

With a storm of right hands, a dozen in number and delivered in a space of 30 to 40 seconds, William Joppy retained his WBA middleweight title last night at the Show Place Arena, stopping Ray McElroy in 1: 41 of the sixth round.

In a co-championship fight, Keith Holmes of Washington was favored to retain his WBC 160-pound crown against the challenge of Richie Woodhall from Telford, England.

It was Joppy's first title defense, of which there figure to be many considering what the Silver Spring native brings to the ring. Besides a healthy whack from either side, Joppy, 23-0-1 with 19 KOs, moves well, counter punches, fights both $l right-handed and left-handed and possesses impressive defensive skills.

With all this going against him, it was heroic that McElroy was able to carry the fight into the sixth round. But there was no way he could stand up to the victor's howitzer shots too much longer.

Although McElroy denied it. Watching himself on television replay being pummeled in the sixth round, the loser said, "He doesn't hit that good. He hits like a women." Wonder Woman, perhaps?

"It was time," Joppy said. "That's why I stepped it up. He had to go. But I have to say he was tougher than I thought he'd be."

Asked if Joppy's power impressed him, the champ often punching right through his defense and at least knocking him off balance, McElroy answered: "No, I broke my wrist [left] last month. I took the fight too early." Obviously, he wasn't going to relent and give Joppy his due.

Joppy didn't expect it, instead thinking ahead to his next challenge. "I'd like to unify the title," he said. "I want all three belts. But I'm not going to call the other champs names. They know who they are."

One was about to enter the ring, Holmes, so the WBA champ showered quickly and headed out to take a peek.

Andrew Council had his scheduled 10-rounder chopped to eight in order for Showtime to hit its 11 o'clock mark. Didn't matter, Council taking Allen Watts out with an out-of-the-blue dozen-punch flurry at 2: 07 of Round 1. He's now 27-4-3.

Paul Vaden, the man who took the IBF junior middleweight title from Vincent Pettway of Baltimore last year, pushed his record to 26-1 with an easy unanimous decision win over Bernice Barber (13-5-2).

Sharmba Mitchell ran his record to 39-2 with a knockout victory over John Stewart just as the first round was ending. Mitchell sunk a hook into Stewart's midriff and didn't even realize his opponent had gone down until he heard the reaction of the crowd as he went back to his corner. The bell could not save Stewart (18-5). It was the welterweight Mitchell's 27th KO.

"I was walking back to the corner when I heard the crowd screaming," Mitchell said. "I turned around and he was down -- and he wasn't getting up. I was surprised because I'd just been working up and down to see what would land."

"That's the first time I've done it with a body shot, so maybe I should work on those," said Mitchell. "My power's coming. It's much better than when at 135 where I lost twice."

On the deep undercard, Greg Suttington (13-1) won a battle of heavyweights from Robert Jackson (3-12) with a second-round TKO; Rick Frazier (13-1) decisioned Barry Butler (6-7), light-heavyweights; Lonnie Davis (11-1-3) decisioned Alonzo Brown (3-3), super-middleweights; and, DeMarcus Corley (5-0) decisioned Antonio Presley (2-2), junior welterweights.

Pub Date: 10/21/96

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