Eplion falls in four

Updated: July 18, 2004, 3:38 AM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press