Beltran beats Ndlovu in split decision for IBO featherweight title

Updated: August 23, 2008, 1:26 AM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Fernando Beltran Jr. held off Takalani Ndlovu to win the vacant IBO featherweight world title in a 12-round split decision Friday night.

Beltran (31-3-1) lost his two previous title bouts, but the Mexican southpaw was able to recover this time from a lost point due to a low blow in the 10th round.

"I knew that I was up [on the judges' scorecards]," Beltran said through an interpreter. "But I was worried about that point I lost."

Two judges scored the fight 115-112 for Beltran, while the other had it 114-113 for Ndlovu.

"This is a great birthday present for me," said Beltran, who turned 26 Monday.

Ndlovu (28-5) came out in the final round and landed a right that seemed to stagger Beltran, but Beltran came back and wobbled Ndlovu with a left.

The 30-year-old Ndlovu began to develop swelling under his left eye in the later rounds after Beltran was able to score with several right jabs throughout the bout.

"I threw a cross to [Ndlovu's] stomach, but it went below the belt," Beltran said. "I didn't realize I did it."

In the co-featured fight, Harry Joe Yorgey (21-0-1) won the vacant IBF North American junior middleweight title with a 12-round majority decision over Jason LeHoullier.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press