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Crawford knocks out Avanesyan to retain WBO welterweight world title

Unbeaten American Terence Crawford knocked out David Avanesyan in the sixth round on Saturday to retain his World Boxing Organization welterweight world title.

Crawford, fighting in front of home fans at the CHI Health Center arena in Omaha, Nebraska, sent Avanesyan sprawling with a right hook at 2:14 of the sixth, improving to 39-0 with 30 knockouts.

A former undisputed light welterweight world champion, Crawford made his sixth defense of the title he claimed when he stopped Australian Jeff Horn in the ninth round in June of 2018.

No opponent has taken Crawford the distance in more than six years.

He punished Avanesyan in the sixth with repeated left upper-cuts, finally following one short left with the right hook that knocked the challenger out cold.

Crawford’s 10th straight knockout ended the six-fight winning streak of London-based Russian Avanesyan, the reigning European Champion in the 147-pound division who fell to 29-3 with one draw and 17 knockouts.

Crawford’s latest victory could at last pave the way for a long-awaited matchup with fellow American Errol Spence Jr., unbeaten holder of the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation titles.

The two had been in talks for a meeting this year and when that failed to materialize Crawford opted for the title defense against Avanesyan that was his lone bout in 2022.

Spence, who owns a record of 28-0 with 22 knockouts, returned from surgery to repair a detached retina to score a 10th-round technical knockout of Yordenis Ugas in April to add the WBA belt to his WBC and IBF titles.

Spence had been set to fight Manny Pacquiao in August 2021 but withdrew from the matchup because of the eye injury.

It was the second major setback of Spence’s career after an October 2019 car crash led to him being hospitalized.

On Saturday, Spence posted a video on Instagram saying he’d been in another car accident, showing damage to his vehicle and saying he was hit by a 14-year-old driver who had run a red light after taking his parents’ car.

“It always happens to me,” Spence says in the video.

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