Holyfield keeps quest alive
Copenhagen - Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield beat Denmark's Brian Nielsen on a technical knockout in the 10th round on Saturday in his longshot quest for one last title fight.
The bout was stopped after the 48-year-old Holyfield pushed Nielsen into the corner in the 10th round and hit him several times with right-left combinations, causing the Dane to spit out some blood.
"My goal still is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world," Holyfield said. "This fight showed other champions what I am able to do, but it also taught me I got to be better. The most important is that I didn't quit. I am not quitter."
Holyfield (44-10-2-1) started the fight aggressively, pressing the 46-year-old Nielsen into the ropes and landing several hard jabs and hooks.
Despite getting a swollen eye in the fourth round, Nielsen kept on clowning to provoke Holyfield throughout the bout, prompting his trainer, Paul Duvill, to beg him to stop fooling around and focus on Holyfield.
Nielsen (64-2, 43 KOs) made a comeback in the eighth round, pushing a tired-looking Holyfield into the ropes with a series of combinations, before Holyfield turned it around in the 10th.
"It was a tough fight - he kept coming back," Holyfield said. "He fought a very courageous fight."
Nielsen, with a bag of ice on his bloodied face, said he disagreed with the decision to halt the fight. He suggested a rematch to Holyfield.
"That's enough, I don't need a rematch," Holyfield said, laughing.
Holyfield weighed in at 225.97 pounds (102.8kg), while Nielsen, a tall, pudgy fighter, was at 238.1 pounds (108kg).
Before the fight, Nielsen had acknowledged that Holyfield was the favorite, but he promised the fight wouldn't be a walkover. He spent eight months in an intensive training camp in Germany to prepare for his first fight in nine years.
Holyfield's last appearance in the ring was in January. He was cut above the left eye by an accidental head butt in his fight against Sherman Williams and the bout was ruled a no-contest.