Darryl Tyson, a 24-year-old Washington, D.C., lightweight ranked 15th by the International Boxing Federation, is on his way up the ladder to what he hopes will be a world title bout by the end of the year. Wilfred Benitez is trying to find his way back.
Benitez, a former three-time champion and one of six men to win titles in three divisions, was listed as part of the co-main feature on Saturday night's seven-fight card at D.C. Convention Center. Benitez scored a technical knockout when Danny Chapman of Albany, N.Y., did not come out for the seventh of the scheduled 10 rounds.
Tyson also won Saturday, scoring a unanimous decision over Melvin Paul to claim the vacant Continental American lightweight championship.
Tyson threw everything he could at Paul, but the visitor from New Orleans took it. Paul clutched and grabbed at every opportunity, which helped him stay in the fight.
Tyson said before the match that his best punch was his left hook, and in the sixth round he landed three in a row that seemed to hurt Paul. In the ninth, Paul got a standing eight count, although it might have resulted as much from a slip as Tyson's overhand right. Tyson also opened a cut over Paul's left eye.
"I studied the tape of him very well," Tyson said. "He hit me with a couple right hands that dazed me but I knew it would be toe-to-toe."
Tyson's trainer, Bobby Brown, said he hopes Tyson will learn patience from the fight.
"I thought he got a good lesson," Brown said. "He didn't get excited when things were not working. That goes with class."
In the other feature fight, Benitez (47-4-1) took three rounds to get the measure of his opponent, then started to score with combinations to Chapman's head and body. Benitez started the sixth by landing a straight right that hurt Chapman, and followed with a left. With less than a minute to go in the round, Benitez pounded him with a combination that staggered Chapman, who got a standing eight count from referee Milton Green. Chapman finished the round but no more.
Later Benitez said, "The one thing I didn't want to do was go the distance in slow motion."
Al Martino scored an eight-round unanimous decision over Zack Bensalah of Morocco by way of Troy, N.Y. Featherweight Leroy Brooks of Washington lost an unpopular split decision in his six-round bout with Donnie Parker of Baltimore.
Washington's Larry Pringle, 27, scored a four-round, split-decision victory over Willie McNeal of Philadelphia. Henry Hawkins of Washington was making his pro debut, but Jose LaBorde, of Winchester, Va., spoiled it with a third-round TKO.