SPORTS

Kalenga keeps interim WBA cruiserweight title with 12-round TKO over Daley

11/16/2014 12:46 EST | Updated 01/15/2015 05:59 EST
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Youri Kalenga came to Canada with the interim World Boxing Association cruiserweight title. After going 12 rounds with Brampton's Denton Daley on Saturday night, he's taking it back home to France.

The Congolese-born fighter was successful in his first title defence, winning by technical knockout in the 12th and final round at the Hershey Centre.

Kalenga, 26, improved to 21-1 in his career and remains the mandatory challenger for WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (26-2) of Russia. That fight could happen as early as the spring.

"I've worked so hard for this," Kalenga said through a translator. "I'm sending a message that I'm coming for (Lebedev). I'm so happy and I'll knock him out."

Kalenga's power was well documented by his 13 knockouts coming into Saturday's fight. Ten of those knockouts came within the first three rounds.

Although he was putting a lot of weight on his punches and missing on them early on, he stayed energized and connected with several counter punches against Daley (12-1).

"He's a strong guy and I needed all my tools to keep him off," said Daley, a 32-year-old who was born and raised in Regent Park, Toronto's oldest social housing project.

"His only opportunity was to land a big shot and he ended up getting it in the last round."

In the eighth round, Daley was cut open by what he says was a headbutt. The following round, he was knocked down while taking some heavy shots in the corner and he was knocked down twice in the 12th round before Kalenga connected with four powerful hooks to the chin, stopping the fight with 1:08 remaining.

Daley had a chance to become the only Canadian-born world champion. The fight, presented by United Boxing Promotions, was the first world championship bout in Ontario since Sarnia's Steve Molitor defeated Takalani Ndlovu for the International Boxing Federation super bantam weight title on March 27, 2010.

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