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Wright wins bout and shot at Trinidad-Vargas winner

Ronald "Winky" Wright took another title from Bronco McKart Saturday night in Chester, W.Va., winning the North American Boxing Federation super-welterweight championship by unanimous decision and, more important, gaining the No. 1 ranking in the International Boxing Federation.

In the fight televised by HBO, Wright opened cuts over both of McKart's eyes with a steady and hard right jab to win 10 of the 12 rounds. Two judges had it scored 118-110 and the third scored it 116-112.

Wright beat McKart in a much closer fight in 1996 for the World Boxing Organization title, his first world championship. The 28-year-old St. Petersburg fighter tried to return the belt he won Saturday to McKart in a symbolic gesture because the big prize was the IBF's No. 1 ranking. That makes Wright the challenger for the winner of the Felix Trinidad-Fernando Vargas fight on Dec. 2.

After the decision was announced, Wright looked into the camera and said, "Trinidad, that's for you baby."

Wright and McKart engaged in a tight fight through six rounds before Wright's jab started to wear down the champion. Wright landed 119 jabs to 20 for McKart, and blocked most of McKart's power shots in the early going with a typically strong defense.

Wright initiated virtually every exchange. The few times McKart came in with hooks to the body and head, Wright countered with his jab and left hook.

"The first six rounds I had to figure him out," Wright said. "I saw I could box him and catch him coming in so that's what I did."

JONES RETAINS TITLE: Undisputed light heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. retained his title when challenger Eric Harding could not come out for the 11th round in New Orleans.

Jones (43-1, 35 KOs) was given a technical knockout when Harding remained in his corner with a torn biceps in his left arm. Harding suffered the injury in the second round.

"I tried to hit him with an overhand left," Harding said. "He blocked it with a right."

Dr. Jerry Rosenberg said Harding could not lift his arm when he stopped the fight.

Harding (19-1-1, 6 KOs), the IBF's top-ranked contender, was a heavy underdog, but was frequently the aggressor against Jones, who seemed tentative early on and lethargic throughout. Jones spent weeks hyping the pay-per-view. Ticket sales will determine Jones' purse. Harding got $600,000.

In an undercard bout, Derrick "Smoke" Gainer took away Fred "Lil' Hagler" Norwood's WBA featherweight title on a knockout in the 11th round. Referee Paul Sita called the fight after Norwood hit Gainer with three straight low blows.

In other bouts, Marco Antonio Barrera retained his WBO junior featherweight title with a unanimous decision over Jose Luis Valbuena, heavyweight Kelvin Davis beat Maurice Marshall with a TKO in the second round of a six-round bout, and welterweight Antonio Young beat Mujtabaa Muhammad in a four-round unanimous decision.

_ Information from Times wires was used in this report.