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Sturm retains WBA title with draw against Griffin

HALLE, Germany -- Germany's Felix Sturm retained his WBA
middleweight title, fighting to a draw with American Randy Griffin
on Saturday night.

Both fighters traded shots nonstop for 12 rounds, standing
toe-to-toe for many of them. One judge ruled the fight 114-114,
while the other two had it 117-111 for Griffin and 115-114 for
Sturm.

Griffin, ranked No. 1 by the WBA, never stopped moving forward
and throwing punches at the favored German. By the final two
rounds, the crowd was on its feet.

"I hope there is a rematch," Sturm said. "Randy deserved it
and I need a rematch to prove something to myself."

Griffin (24-1-3, 12 knockouts) didn't have any big names on his
record, but turned the fight around with a strong seventh round. He
threw even more punches than before and caught Sturm with left and
right hooks.

Griffin then won the rounds until Sturm rallied in the 11th,
abandoning his counter-punching to attack and try and pull out the
fight.

"It was a close decision," said Griffin, 31. "I was
disappointed, I thought I won the fight."

Sturm (28-2-1, 12 knockouts) rocked Griffin with right uppercuts
in the third and fifth rounds as it appeared he was headed to an
expected victory.

Neither boxer had the power to knock the other out, although all
the shots they took left both fighters' faces heavily marked.

Sturm made his second defense of the WBA title, which he has won
twice. He also lost the WBO title in 2004 to Oscar De La Hoya on a
controversial decision.