Boxing: Vladimir Klitschko bludgeons his way to victory
Vladimir Klitschko retained his world heavyweight titles when he knocked down challenger Tony Thompson in the sixth round of a one-sided contest in Berne. The 36-year-old Ukrainian, who knocked out Thompson when they met four years ago, extended his unbeaten run to 16 fights, his last defeat coming when he challenged Lamon Brewster for the WBO title in 2004.
Klitschko, who has won 58 and lost three of his professional bouts, holds the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO titles while his older brother Vitali holds the WBC title.
Thompson was never in the contest and was floored for the first time in the fifth round with a big right hook. The American survived the count but
‘Dr Steelhammer’ wasted no time in finishing off the 40-year-old in the next round, knocking him over again with a flurry of punches to the head, prompting the referee to stop the fight.
”I didn’t have a doubt from the beginning of the fight that I would defend my titles,” said Klitschko. “”It was really difficult to land the punches. He’s very sneaky, he sees the punches, he never loses eye contact which makes him super alert. “I felt I had the strength, speed, condition and power.”
Thompson, who suffered his third defeat in 39 fights, praised his opponent. “I came up short for the second time,” the American said. ”I feel I can beat any other heavyweight in the world, but if you can’t beat the champions...”
Meanwhile, promoter Eddie Hearn has offered a stark warning to Sheffield welterweight Kell Brook that he must improve his preparations behind the scenes to succeed at the highest level. Brook moved his perfect professional record to 28 victories from as many fights on Saturday, but was forced to come through the first major crisis of his career to eke out a majority verdict over tough American Carson Jones in his home city at the Motorpoint Arena.
The past year in Hearn’s Matchroom Sports stable has seen Brook become a bill-topping star in his home city, barely dropping a round in wins over Lovemore N’Dou, Rafal Jackiewicz, Luis Galarza and Matthew Hatton. More of the same appeared to be the order of the day as the 26-year-old cruised through the opening five rounds, effortlessly picking apart Jones’ one-dimensional come-forward style.
But he tired around midway, suffered a broken nose in seven and had to weather a relentless assault from his Oklahoma foe through a mask of blood in the closing stages. That blood loss meant Brook was taken to hospital afterwards, leaving Hearn to explain how problems with dieting and making the weight left his man running on empty.
“I haven’t really been happy all week,” he said. “He has big, big problems making the weight. He’s a massive welterweight. “It’s always tight, it’s always tough, but this time in particular was very tough. On Thursday night, I thought if this fight goes long he will get very tired. He broke his nose in the seventh round which was probably the worst thing that could have happened to him. He lost a lot of blood.”
Nevertheless, Hearn was happy to take the positives from a gruelling evening, where Brook displayed a fortitude his serene progress to date had not previously called upon.
Next on the agenda for Brook is a final eliminator for a shot at the IBF title against Argentina’s big-punching but vulnerable Hector Saldivia,
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