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Eplion falls in four

7/18/2004

BOWIE, Md. -- Laila Ali had little trouble defending her
International Boxing Association super middleweight championship
Saturday night, stopping Nikki Eplion at 1:30 of the fourth round.

Ali (17-0, 13 knockouts), the daughter of Muhammad Ali, showed
some of the speed and quickness that made her father famous.

She repeatedly cut off the slower Eplion (12-2-2), forcing her
to the ropes or into a corner and unloading with flurries of
punches.

The damage began taking a toll in the third round when Ali
knocked down the left-handed Eplion twice. Ali knocked her down in
the corner with just under 40 seconds left in the round, then did
it again with just under 10 seconds left.

Eplion got up before the bell and came out again in the fourth
round. But Ali again knocked her down in the corner in the early
moments.

Referee Gary Camponeshi stopped it after the fourth knockdown,
midway through the round.