February 04, 2012

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Yoan Pablo Hernandez of Cuba successfully defended his IBF cruiserweight title with a unanimous decision against Steve Cunningham in their rematch on Saturday.

The southpaw had Cunningham on the canvas in the fourth round after catching the American with a right. Cunningham remained unsteady after receiving a count but somehow recovered to see out the round.

Hernandez tried to finish him off in the fifth, but Cunningham sent him reeling back.

Cunningham improved in the later rounds but was unable to make up for the knockdown. The judges awarded it 116-110, 116-110 and 115-111.

"He really is a courageous boxer, you could see that," Hernandez said. "I gave myself a bit of breathing space in the fourth round. I caught him again nicely in the 12th."

Hernandez was making his first defense of the title he won from Cunningham on a controversial split technical decision in October.

That bout was stopped after six rounds after Hernandez sustained two cuts from a clash of heads, and awarded to the Cuban on points.

Hernandez, based in Germany since 2005, improved his record to 26-1 (13 KOs), while Cunningham dropped to 24-4 (12 KOs).

Cunningham, who was aiming to win back the title for the third time, paid tribute to Hernandez for a deserved win and said he had no plans to retire.

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