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ATLANTIC CITY - Kendall Holt knocked down Isaac Hlatswayo three times in the last four rounds and registered a unanimous 12-round decision to win the North American Boxing Organization junior-welterweight title on Friday.
Holt, from Paterson, cemented his status as a potential world champion with the win over the South African.
"I told everybody this fight could be easy or could be hard, depending on me," Holt said. "I trained, I sacrificed and it was easy like I said it was going to be. I can't be overlooked. Take me serious."
By winning the title, Holt (21-1) will soon be ranked in the top five by the World Boxing Organization. That could eventually lead to a shot at the WBO's junior welterweight title that was recently vacated by Miguel Cotto. Judges Paul Venti and John Riley both had Holt winning 119-106 while Pierre Benoit favoured him 116-109.
The bout was a slugfest at the outset, with both fighters launching and landing powerful shots in the early rounds. Holt, who was back in the ring after a 13-month layoff, began to take control in the sixth when Hlatswayo (25-1) suffered a nasty cut above his left eye.- Sapa-AP