Valero stops Velazquez to retain WBC title, improves to 26-0

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's Edwin Valero defeated Mexican Hector Velazquez on Saturday to retain his WBC lightweight title.

Valero dispatched his opponent in six rounds, with Velazquez not answering the bell for the seventh.

The 28-year-old Valero now has accumulated 26 victories, none of which have gone the distance, with 19 ending in the first round.

The hometown favorite overcame a bleeding eyebrow and nose after a pair of accidental head clashes early in the fight.

It was Valero's first defense of his title since winning it in April with a second-round TKO victory over Colombian Antonio Pitalua.

The Venezuelan's next planned defense is against Mexican Antonio De Marco early in the new year.

Saturday fight was held in La Guaira on Venezuela's Caribbean coast just outside Caracas. U.S. visa problems prevented Valero from defending his title in Las Vegas last month against junior lightweight champion Humberto Soto.

Velasquez, 34, was making his first attempt at a major title in his 68th professional bout, and has now lost three of his past four. It was the first time he not managed to go the distance since a sixth-round TKO by Manny Pacquaio in 2005.