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Klitschko becomes WBC top contender

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Published December 7, 2003

NEW YORK - In a dominating performance, Vitali Klitschko knocked Kirk Johnson down twice in the second round before their heavyweight fight was stopped at 2:54 with Johnson clinging to a bottom rope at Madison Square Garden.

Klitschko knocked Johnson down with a flurry of punches with 45 seconds left in the second round then began hammering him with lefts and rights in the corner after he got back up. A right drove him against the ropes, and two more rights put him on the canvas, where referee Arthur Mercante Jr. waved the fight to a close.

With the victory Saturday, Klitschko earned the right to be the WBC No. 1 contender and wants a rematch with champion Lennox Lewis. The champion, however, has been reluctant to fight lately and might retire.

"Hello, Lennox. I know you saw this fight," Klitschko said. "You're a great heavyweight champion, but I can beat you."

WEATHER: Snow postpones events

The season's first big snowstorm in the Northeast disrupted college basketball games and horse racing. Rutgers called off men's and women's basketball games after a foot of snow had fallen by midday in northern New Jersey. No makeup dates were set. In New York, Fordham's games were delayed a day. Horse racing shut down at Aqueduct and Yonkers, at Laurel in Maryland and at Charles Town in West Virginia.

COLLEGES: Gators at home in pool

Senior Sara McLarty and sophomore Ryan Lochte helped Florida maintain the lead at the U.S. Open on Friday in Federal Way, Wash. UF swimmers led with 315 points; Washington was second with 141. McLarty won the 400-meter individual medley in a career-best 4:45.38. Her time also was an NCAA automatic qualifying mark and qualified her for the 2004 Olympic trials. Lochte finished third in the 200 freestyle (1:50.75), an Olympic trials qualifying time and NCAA provisional mark.

DOPING: Focus on andro creator

The federal grand jury investigating San Francisco's Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative is asking about Patrick Arnold, an Illinois chemist and bodybuilder who introduced androstenedione, the controversial supplement used by former home run slugger Mark McGwire, to the American market. More than one witness has been asked about Arnold, 37, who is recognized as the founder of the prohormone industry of sports supplements. Prohormones can boost levels of testosterone and increase an athlete's ability to exercise and gain muscle mass. Congress is considering a bill that would ban them, and Arnold is leading the campaign against the effort. Andro was banned by the Olympics and the NCAA but not by Major League Baseball.

WINTER SPORTS: Maier back on win track

Hermann Maier won a World Cup downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., barely two years after a motorcycle accident almost cost him his right leg. Maier claimed his second victory of the season and 44th of his career by finishing nearly a second ahead of teammate Hans Knauss to lead an Austrian sweep. Maier finished in 1 minute, 39.76 seconds. American Daron Rahlves, who won Friday's downhill, was fourth in 1:41.01. Bode Miller lost control on a jump and missed a gate.

MOGULS: Olympic champ Janne Lahtela (24.9 points) won a season-opening race at a World Cup freestyle meet in Ruka, Finland. Jeremy Bloom (24.57), who plays football at Colorado, was second.

SKELETON: Olympic champion Jimmy Shea finished .38 behind Kristan Bromley (1:51.46) in a World Cup race at Lake Placid, N.Y. Also, the 1932 Lake Placid Olympic Arena was renamed in honor of Jimmy Shea's late grandfather, Jack Shea, a double Olympic gold-medal winner in speed skating 71 years ago.

SPEED SKATING: Miami's Jennifer Rodriguez won a World Cup 1,000-meters race in Calgary.

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