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Woman leaves jail as reward for winning world title

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thailand's first female boxing world
champion was released from jail Wednesday as reward for winning the
world light-flyweight title.

Siriporn Thaweesuk was released on parole from the women's
prison in Pathum Thani province, 20 miles north of Bangkok, three
years before the end of her seven-year sentence for selling
amphetamines.

Siriporn -- or Samson Sor Siriporn as she is known in the ring -- defeated Japan's Ayaka Miyano for the title in a prison yard bout
in April amid cheers from other inmates and prison guards.

The decision by prison authorities to grant her parole for
winning the title was not without controversy, but the boxing
champion shrugged off the criticism as she left prison.

"Thanks for those who supported a convict like me," Siriporn
said at a press conference after her release. "Some may not agree
but I don't care. I am happy that there are people willing to
support me. I like to thank all the officials as well."

A first-time offender, Siriporn grew up in a poor family in the
Thai capital of Bangkok, where her family made a living by selling
clothes on the roadside.

After her release, Siriporn will continue to train on the prison
grounds and live in a house provided by the prison authorities in a
nearby compound. She will be required to report to the director of
the women's prison once a month.

The victory was her first since losing the WBC Straw-weight
title to Japan's Nanako Kikuchi last year.

Siriporn's first bout to defend her title is set for late July.