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Danielle Perkins
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Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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Errol Spence, Olympic boxer, thrown from Ferrari in crash

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DALLAS (AP) — Welterweight boxing champion Errol Spence crashed a speeding Ferrari in Dallas early Thursday and was badly injured but is expected to survive, police said.

The crash happened just before 3 a.m., when Spence’s Ferrari crossed a median into oncoming traffic and flipped over several times, ejecting Spence, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, police said. Spence was taken to a hospital and placed in the intensive care unit.

“His injuries are not life-threatening. His parents are with him at the hospital,” Tim Smith, a spokesman for Spence’s promoter, Premier Boxing Champions, told The Associated Press.

Police said they’re still investigating the cause of the crash, but they noted that the Ferrari was speeding at the time.

Last month, the 2012 U.S. Olympian added the WBC welterweight title to his IBF strap with a thrilling split-decision victory over Shawn Porter in Los Angeles.

With his rangy athleticism and virtuosic skill, Spence, who is 26-0 with 21 knockouts, has captured fans with a series of crisp victories in recent years. He won the IBF title in 2017 by stopping Kell Brook in England, and he defended it three times, culminating in a one-sided thrashing of undersized Mikey Garcia in March.

Spence, 29, emerged victorious from his bout with the veteran brawler Porter (30-3-1), which featured several wild exchanges and had the Staples Center crowd of 16,702 on its feet throughout the 12th round and roaring for both fighters when they embraced after the final bell.

Heading into the fight in which he was a heavy favorite, Spence had a lot of attractive options ahead, including a possible fight with the resurgent Manny Pacquiao and a potential bout with fellow unbeaten champion Terrence Crawford after that.

Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker, Olympic, world champion boxer, dies at 55

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Pernell Whitaker, an Olympic gold medalist and professional world champion boxer, died Sunday night after being hit by a vehicle in Virginia Beach, according to police and confirmed by an NBC affiliate. He was 55 years old.

Whitaker, nicknamed “Sweet Pea,” earned lightweight gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He then turned professional, becoming in the late 1980s and early 1990s one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and earning titles in four weight classes.

He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007 and in retirement trained boxers.

In 1984, Whitaker entered the Los Angeles Games as the lightweight favorite after the Cuban boycott meant amateur rival Angel Herrera would miss the competition.

Whitaker went on to win four unanimous decisions to reach the final, where Puerto Rican Luis Ortiz‘s corner ended the fight late in the second round.

Whitaker was part of a decorated U.S. Olympic boxing team in Los Angeles that earned nine of the 12 gold medals, all on Aug. 11, 1984.