Antonio Tarver won the IBO light heavyweight title Saturday night, unanimously out-pointing Glen Johnson to avenge a split decision six months ago.

Tarver had winning scores of 116-112 on two cards and 115-113 on the third.

Tarver came out punching in flurries and continued through the 12 rounds. He threw 851 punches, landing 218, while Johnson fired 564 times and hit 149.

By the 10th round, the rapid punching drew cheers of "Tarver! Tarver! Tarver!"

"I really had to bite down and do it all to put on a performance like this," Tarver said. "I was in better shape this fight. Glen was real tough. He's a pit bull and I had to tame him tonight. So we've had two great fights and now we can have a third one for the fans."

Tarver, 23-3 with 18 knockouts, also sought to take advantage of his longer reach, while Johnson, 42-10-2 with 28 knockouts, steadily tried to press inside.

Johnson of Miami and Tarver of Tampa, the only two fighters to knock out former three-time world champion Roy Jones, fought in Las Vegas in December, with Johnson taking a split decision.

After that fight, Tarver argued he was robbed, even though Johnson was the aggressor throughout. Two judges scored the Las Vegas fight 115-113 for Johnson, while the third gave it to Tarver, 116-112.

Johnson, a native of Jamaica who started boxing at 20 and turned professional the next year, was a virtual unknown until beating Jones to keep the IBF title. Tarver, a former WBC and IBF light heavyweight champ, won an Olympic bronze medal in 1996.

At 6-foot-21/2, Tarver, a southpaw, had a 4-inch height advantage over Johnson. Both fighters are 36. Johnson weighed in at 173 pounds and Tarver at 1731/2.

Andre Ward of Oakland, Calif., an Olympic gold medalist last year, improved his professional record to 4-0 with a technical knockout of Ben Aragon (4-4-1) of Albuquerque in the third round of a scheduled six-round middleweight bout.

Ike Quartey of Ghana took a unanimous decision over former IBF and WBO junior middleweight champ Verno Phillips of Denver in a 10-round junior middleweight fight.

Antonio Tarver, right, lands one of his 218 punches against defending champion Glen Johnson in their IBO light heavyweight title fight.