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Ky. Fighter Defends World Title

March 22, 2001

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Clarence ``Bones″ Adams has fought only one of his 46 professional fights in his native Kentucky.

The second one will mean a lot more, because he’ll defend a world title.

Adams (40-3-3), the WBA superbantamweight champion, will face Venezuelan Jose Cheo Rojas (15-4) in Owensboro on Friday in a fight he’s been promoting locally for five weeks.

``This is all in my hands and if it’s not packed, I’m never going to hear the end of it,″ said Adams, 26, who grew up in Henderson.

The 5-foot-5, 122-pound Adams started boxing when he was 5. His father, Clarence Sr., a truck driver, taught him and his older brother, Fred, ``for self-defense, really,″ Adams said. Clarence Sr. coined the nickname that’s stuck with Adams for 20 years.

``He just said I was ‘skin and bones’ and it stuck,″ Adams said. ``Now, that’s what everyone calls me.″

Fred soon lost interest in the sport, but his younger brother stayed with it, winning a remarkable 36 fights by age 7. He won 176 of 180 amateur fights before turning pro at 16.

``I liked everything about boxing,″ Adams said. ``I didn’t know anything else.″

Adams won 26 of his first 27 pro fights, racking up 15 knockouts. He lost three times and earned two draws over the next four years, and faded from the spotlight.

Adams fought only seven times from 1996-99 _ winning each bout _ before his career turned last year in Las Vegas when Danny Romero backed out of a shot at champion Nestor Garza.

Adams stepped in and pounded Garza for 12 rounds, earning a unanimous decision. He successfully defended his title last August with a sixth-round knockout of Andres Fernandez in Madison, Wis.

He asked promoters to schedule his next fight close to home and they did.

``I wanted to bring something back to this community,″ Adams said. ``I’ve always fought out of Kentucky. I’ve always supported Kentucky. That means a lot to me, and I hope the people come out and support me. That would feel great.″

Rojas is the second replacement for Adams’ foe. His original opponent, Yober Ortega; and his backup, Antonio Cermeno, dropped out this week.

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