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Boxer Johnston Ponders Retirement

September 16, 2000

DENVER (AP) _ Stevie Johnston, having failed in a bid to regain his WBC lightweight title, is considering other options.

``Maybe I’ll get into selling real estate,″ Johnston said after Jose Luis Castillo of Mexico successfully defended the championship Friday night when their 12-round fight ended in a draw.

``I’ll take some time to think about what I want to do,″ said Johnston, who lost the title to Castillo in June. Before the fight, he talked about the possibility of retiring if he lost.

The judges scored the rematch in Johnston’s hometown 114-114, 115-114, 114-114.

``It was a tough fight, but I thought I pulled it out,″ Johnston said. ``I thought Castillo won only one round, but the judges didn’t see it that way.″

Unlike the first fight, Johnston stayed out of the corners and effectively counterpunched throughout, particularly in the early rounds. Castillo took control in the fourth round with straight rights and maintained it in the fifth, using left jabs to swell Johnston’s right eye.

Castillo was victimized by three straight lefts from Johnson in the final 30 seconds of the eighth round. Then stayed out of trouble with jabs and counterpunching the remainder of the fight.

There was confusion in the minutes following the fight when the ring announcer had judge Ken Morita giving the fight to Johnston, 115-114. Moments later, Morita’s card was recalculated and announced as 114-114.

``It’s frustrating that it happened like that, but that’s boxing, and stuff happens,″ Johnston said.

Castillo was never really concerned about giving Johnston a rematch in the former champion’s hometown.

``The first time I trained for three weeks and I clearly won,″ Castillo said. ``This time I trained for eight weeks and I was much more confident. I said that I would win in eight rounds by knockout, but Johnston is a great boxer.″

Castillo (41-4-1) was making his first title defense since taking the title from Johnston (30-2-1) on June 17 in Bell Gardens, Calif.

On the undercard, super heavyweight Eric ``Butterbean″ Esch of Jaspar, Ala., stopped Marcus Rhode of Detroit Lakes, Minn., at 2:06 of the third round.

Cruiserweight Shane Swartz of Fort Collins, Colo., stopped Martin Lopez of El Paso, Texas, at 1:56 of the second round; lightweight Antonio Ramierez of the Dominican Republic, stopped Terrance Churchwell of Nashville, Tenn., at 2:57 of the third round; lightweight Juan Valenzuela of Mexico outpointed Adan Casillas of Mexico; and junior middleweight Kelly Pavlik of Youngstown, Ohio, stopped Frank Sanchez of Aurora, Colo., in the first round.

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