Klitschko flattens Pulev in five
IBF/WBO/WBA heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs) scored a spectacular fifth round KO over previously unbeaten Kubrat Pulev (20-1, 11 KOs) on Saturday night at the 02 Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
The 38-year-old Ukrainian champion produced yet another dominant performance, flooring his Bulgarian challenger on three occasions before a devastating left hook put Pulev flat on his back in the fifth.
Klitschko dominated from the start, flooring Pulev twice in round one, each time with explosive left hooks.
Pulev, 33, came out aggressively in the hope of catching Klitschko with a big shot, but his confidence drained away barely a minute into the fight after a left hook dumped him on the canvas. Pulev got up, stuck out his tongue and stood on one leg to show he was ok, but found himself on the canvas again almost immediately as Klitschko landed another left hook.
Klitschko controlled the second round, with Pulev on the retreat, and he was staggered again by a right hand in the third before a left sent him down for a third time. But Pulev, now bleeding from a cut under his left eye, survived the round and battled back bravely in the next two rounds, landing a few punches of his own.
Klitschko dominated the fourth round but in the fifth Pulev nailed him with several hard head shots that had the champion holding on. However he quickly regained his composure, landing a crushing left hook to Pulev's chin. He went down flat on his back in the center of the ring, and referee Tony Weeks quickly waved it off with Pulev showing no signs of beating the count.
Klitschko, a 1996 Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist, made it 17th consecutive title defences in his second reign and has won 21 fights in a row.
He stands just three defences away from tying Larry Holmes at second place for most consecutive heavyweight title defences. The legendary Joe Louis owns the record for any weight class with 25 defences.