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Champion Joppy hurt in crash; Damage to neck threatens D.C. middleweight's career


World Boxing Association middleweight champion William Joppy, who was scheduled to make a mandatory defense of his title Feb. 6 against top-ranked Darren Obah of Australia, suffered a severe neck injury in a car accident yesterday, leaving his ring future in doubt.

Joppy's adviser, Ollie Dunlap, said the Washington fighter hit his head on the windshield after the other driver collided with the side of his car as he was leaving the Round One gym in Bladensburg after training early yesterday.

He was taken to Prince George's Community Hospital. Because of the swelling in the neck area, it was impossible for doctors to determine how much damage his spinal cord had sustained, Dunlap said. He was being kept in the intensive care ward. An MRI will be conducted today.

A clever boxer who modeled his style after Sugar Ray Leonard, Joppy, 28, first became champion on June 26, 1996, by knocking out Shunji Takehara in Japan.

He made two successful defenses before losing his crown on a controversial decision to Julio Green in Madison Square Garden on Aug. 23, 1997, but regained it in a rematch five months later.

In his most recent championship bout in August, Joppy stopped Roberto Duran in three rounds, most likely ending Duran's celebrated career.

Dunlap said talks had been initiated of trying to match Joppy this summer against the winner of the Bernard Hopkins-Robert Allen International Boxing Federation title bout Feb. 6.

Fields Bros. at Michael's

The unbeaten fighting Fields brothers of Washington -- Anthony, a junior middleweight, and Jermaine, a junior lightweight -- will appear on the professional card at Michael's Eighth Avenue on Jan. 28 in Glen Burnie.

Anthony (10-0) meets Anthony Perry (8-6) of Virginia Beach, Va., in an eight-round fight, and Jermaine (12-0) battles Felix Marti (16-12) of the Dominican Republic in a six-rounder. Heavyweights Richie Melito (20-1) of New York and Biko Botowamungu (12-6) of the Congo are in the main event for the U.S. Boxing Association regional title. For tickets, call 410-766-7474.

ESPN2 card at Pikesville

An ESPN2 fight card, with Stuart Satosky as co-promoter, will be held Feb. 5 at the Pikesville Armory, featuring Maryland junior middleweights Andrew Council (28-11) of Lanham and Michael Ward (27-3) of Fort Washington. Another 10-round bout pairs junior welterweight contender Reggie Green (30-2) of Tuxedo with Jesus Rodriguez (31-11) of Mexico. For tickets, call 410-528-1932.

Amateurs at Teamsters

An amateur card will be held 3 p.m. Sunday at Teamsters Hall in the 6000 block of Erdman Ave. with regional heavyweight champion Mike Dietrick as the featured attraction. Call 410-833-6944.

Pub Date: 1/19/99

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