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Oswaldo Novoa wins strawweight belt

Unheralded Oswaldo Novoa of Mexico knocked out Xiong Zhao Zhong, China's first and only world titleholder, in the fifth round to take his strawweight title Wednesday in Haikou, China.

Xiong (22-5-1, 12 KOs), 31, made boxing history in November 2012 when he won a unanimous decision against Javier Martinez Resendiz in Kunming, China to become the first Chinese world titleholder.

Xiong made two successful defenses of his 105-pound world title last year before running into Novoa.

The fight was fast-paced and featured lots of toe-to-toe action but Novoa (13-4-1, 8 KOs), 32, the taller man, appeared to get the better of most of the exchanges as he knocked Xiong off balance several times.

Novoa landed many heavy right hands and appeared to knock Xiong down with one of them in the third round. But referee Bruce McTavish ruled it a slip.

Xiong was visibly fading in the fourth round and looking to grab as Novoa continued to land punches with both hands. Novoa kept it up in the fifth round, hurting Xiong with a right hand combinations.

When Novoa backed Xiong into a corner and landed a few more shots -- and Xiong offered nothing in return -- McTavish stepped in to call off the fight at 2 minutes, 56 seconds.

While Novoa, who stopped Resendiz in the fourth round last March, celebrated wildly in the ring, the pro-Xiong crowd was virtually silent.