DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — China's Xiong Zhao Zhong picked himself up off the canvas to defeat Denver Cuello of the Philippines on points Friday to retain his WBC strawweight title.

Considered the best boxer from China, Xiong struggled early in the 12-round fight against the veteran Cuello, who connected with a left hook in the first round that sent the defending champion to the ground. But with Cuello having injured his right shoulder in the buildup to the fight, Xiong recovered and began to control the bout.

Xiong landed several good punches in the fourth round and again in the eighth when the ringside doctor was called to treat Cuello. By the ninth round, Cuello was bleeding from his forehead. Xiong won the split decision 115-112, 113-110, 113-113.

Xiong improved to 21-4-1 with 11 KOs. Cuello fell to 33-5-6, with 21 KOs.

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