Heavyweight leader Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53KO’s) reaffirmed his status as the lead big-man in boxing this evening with a dominant five round destruction of leading contender Kubrat Pulev (20-1, 11KO’s) in Hambury, Germany.
Pulev 33, started the contest sharp with several strong jabs to the chest and head of the champion which seemed to rile the Ukranian into gear from the outset. A strong left jab wobbled the legs of Klitschko after only 20 seconds of the contest but things suddenly turned sour for the Bulgarian challenger.
After Pulev’s early success, “Dr Steelhammer” crunched his challenger down with a massive left hook. The former IBF#1 contender bounced straight back up but got knocked down again on unsteady legs with a straight right hand. This last shot lead Pulev to rise rapidly and attempt to hop on one leg to show referee Tony Weeks that he was able to continue, although some thought to the contrary.
While Pulev was always more game than any Klitschko opponent since Britain’s David Haye in 2011, he was always just a strong punch away from being stopped right throughout the contest. He had spells of good work with a proactive jab which kept Klitschko honest but ultimately the challenger stayed in too close and static on his feet for far too many periods; that combined with little to no head movement meant that “The Cobra” was always in for trouble at some point.
After exchanging again centre ring and unable to pin Klitschko against the ropes as anticipated, a long right hand shot from the champion had his foe over again in the third and it looked to be near the end of the contest.
Fiddling his way through the next round and a bit allowed some to think Pulev may see out the final bell, but the tough Ukrainian champion, maybe trying to impress his new television partner in America HBO continued to apply the pressure. To his avail the end came shortly after through the fifth as a fast strong left hook smashed through the defence of Pulev and knocked him out cold.
Referee Tony Weeks waved off the contest seconds after the Bulgarian hit the canvas and Wladimir Klitschko’s chase of Joe Louis’ 25 heavyweight defences gathers steam with number 17 now in the history books.
Big match-up’s against American based WBC champion Bermaine Stiverne and American Olympian Deontay Wilder may now be on the cards, with the HBO boxing fraternity likely to be delighted with their value for dollar with the Ukrainian’s latest great knockout.