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De La Hoya takes WBO belt from Bredahl

Oscar De La Hoya, who looks just as dominating as a pro as he did when he was America's lone gold medalist at the 1992 Olympics, won his first title Saturday night with a 10th-round knockout of Jimmi Bredahl.

De La Hoya outclassed the World Boxing Organization junior lightweight champion from Denmark.

He knocked Bredahl down in the first and second rounds, then again in the 10th.

Bredahl, his face badly battered, was able to last by back-pedaling and clutching.

He was not allowed to continue after Dr. Adam Karns examined him in his corner after the 10th round and stopped the fight.

"Bredahl is a very good fighter and it was difficult to nail him," said De La Hoya (12-0, 11 knockouts). "He couldn't stand the pressure. I felt very strong, I was in command.

"I knew he would go down."

In an earlier bout on the card to mark the reopening of the Olympic Auditorium, unbeaten James Toney defended his International Boxing Federation super middleweight title with a fourth-round knockout of previously undefeated Tim Littles.

Although the WBO doesn't have the prestige of the IBF, World Boxing Association or the World Boxing Council, De La Hoya gave himself a steppingstone for rich paydays when he does fight for those crowns.

He got $1-million for fighting Bredahl, but half goes to buy out his contract with his former managers. Bredahl got $50,000.

De La Hoya won every round on every judge's card.

Bredahl (16-1, 5 KO) went down early in the opening round when De La Hoya landed a right squarely in his face, and De La Hoya was in control the rest of the way.

He grew increasingly frustrated as he was able to knock Bredahl around the ring, but could not put him away.

"Being a southpaw, he is hard to hit," said De La Hoya, fighting for the first time below the 130-pound weight limit. He normally weighs between 135 and 140. Bredahl, who weighed 130, now is 16-1, with five knockouts.

"I thought I was good; He's good," Bredahl said. "My strategy was to kill his stomach. But he killed my face first."

The fights heralded the reopening of the arena that was built in 1924 and served as the site for boxing in the 1932 Olympics.

It was closed in 1987, but renovated by its new owners for what they hope will be weekly boxing cards and other events.

Despite the presence of hometown hero De La Hoya, there were many empty seats in the 7,500 capacity arena Saturday night.

Toney, cut badly above his left eye by a head butt in the third round, rocked Littles (24-1) with a combination midway through that round, then knocked him down before the round ended, but Littles regained his feet.

In the fourth, Toney (42-0-2, 28 KO's) sent Littles, still wobbly, down twice more and was landing punches at will when referee Pat Russell stepped in to stop it at 1:03 of the round.

At that instant, Littles toppled over backward and remained motionless on the canvas for several minutes.

"I saw my own blood and knew I had to take care of business and finish it," Toney said of the gash over his eye. "I told you he was a bum."

Toney, from Ann Arbor, Mich., weighed 167 pounds as he ran his record to 42-0-2, with 28 knockouts. Littles, 166{, of Flint, Mich., is 24-1.

Littles landed more punches in the first two rounds, including an overhand right that seemed to rock Toney in the second.

But the champion took control in the third when he landed the combination that buckled Littles' knees.