Moroccan-born Frenchman Lucien Rodriguez won the European Heavyweight boxing championship in Belgium on Saturday night (7 May) defeating reigning champion Jean-Pierre Coopman.
SV INTERIOR Lucien Rodriguez of France, in blue, attacking Belgium's Jeane-Pierre Coopman in last round of European Heavyweight boxing championship fight, Antwerp, Belgium
SV Referee declaring Rodriguez the winner
SV Crowd watching
SV People congratulating Rodriguez
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Background: Moroccan-born Frenchman Lucien Rodriguez won the European Heavyweight boxing championship in Belgium on Saturday night (7 May) defeating reigning champion Jean-Pierre Coopman. Rodriguez took the title from the Belgian with a points victory over 15 rounds.
SYNOPSIS: At the start of the last round, Coopman, wearing red, made a last desperate effort to save the bout, but at this stage Rodriguez had the match well in hand and was still picking up points.
The Belgian had earlier rocked Rodriguez in the third round with a heavy right, but the Frenchman fought back and Coopman never again looked like getting the knock-out punch he was obviously going to need.
Rodriguez gradually crept ahead on points throughout the match, as Coopman piled on the left jabs hoping to sneak in the crucial blow.
Thirty-one-year old Coopman is the heavyweight champion of Belgium. Last year he fought against world champion Muhammad Ali and lasted five rounds. Out of 37 fights he's won 31.
Coopman won the vacant title less than two months ago when he stopped Spain's Jose Urtain in the fourth round. But in Saturday's match Rodriguez seemed to have the advantage from the start, being four years younger and 10 pounds heavier.
Rodriguez also beat Coopman in Brussels on points earlier this year in a non-title bout. Even then though he seemed too quick and skilful for Coopman who relies almost entirely on stamina and a big punch.