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Huck draws with Afolabi to keep WBO belt

Saturday - 5/5/2012, 8:55pm  ET

ERFURT, Germany (AP) - German cruiserweight Marco Huck retained his WBO title against British challenger Ola Afolabi by the narrowest of margins, a draw by majority decision on Saturday.

In a rematch of Huck's first defense of the title he won from Victor Emilio Ramirez in 2009, Afolabi had the better of the opening rounds.

"I was tired early on, but I'm a fighter and I fought," Huck said. "Thankfully it was just enough in the end."

He was left with a bloody nose at the end of the third, when his trainer urged him to "do something" if he wanted to defend his belt.

The defending champ recovered and delivered a flurry of punches from both sides to leave Afolabi in real trouble just before the end of the ninth.

"I give Marco a a lot of credit," Afolabi said. "I thought he was tired around round six, but he just kept coming until round 12."

Both fighters gave everything in the final round, when exhaustion prevented either from delivering the telling blow with Afolabi, in particular, wobbling but doing just enough to hang on.

Judges Paul Thomas of Britain and Ingo Barrabas of Germany scored it 114-114, while Nelson Vazquez of Puerto Rico awarded it 115-113 in favor of the defending champion.

Huck was back at cruiserweight after losing to Alexander Povetkin for the WBA heavyweight belt in February.

His record was 34-2-1 (25 KOs), while the Los Angeles-based Afolabi was 19-2-4 (9 KOs).

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