Sunday, November 16, 2014 12:25 am
Wladimir Klitschko earned the 17th defence of his world heavyweight crowns with a fifth round knock-out of Kubrat Pulev on Saturday in Hamburg to secure the 53rd KO of his career.
The 38-year-old inched closer to the legendary Joe Louis’ record of 25 heavyweight defences when he put the Bulgarian on down for the fourth time after two mins, 11 seconds of the round.
The Ukrainian retains his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts to remain the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world after the 63rd victory of his career.
Pulev was twice on the canvas in the first round after an explosive start by both the world champion and the International Boxing Federation’s (IBF) mandatory challenger.
The Bulgarian was quickly on his feet, grinning and balancing on one leg in a bid to prove he was unaffected, but Klitschko was soon on top.
Klitschko put Pulev on the canvas with a fierce left hook in the third round, as a cut opened under the challenger’s left eye, but he survived referee Tony Weeks’ count.
It is more than a decade since Klitschko’s last defeat, to Lamon Brewster in April 2004, and the champion was clearly on top by the fourth round.
Klitschko caught Pulev flush in the face with a left hook early in the fifth round and another ended the fight as the Bulgarian went down for the fourth and final time.
The defeat was the first of the 33-year-old’s career after 11 knock-outs in 20 victories.