Pulev decisions Thompson in final eliminator
Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev (18-0) beat Tony Thompson (38-4) on points to move a step closer to a world title shot at undisputed champion Wladimir Klitschko.
In what was billed as a final eliminator for the IBF belt, the Bulgarian gradually out-worked the veteran to take the decision on all three scorecards in Schwerin, Germany.
The American took the early rounds but Pulev was on top by the fifth in a rough fight often fought at close quarters.
Thompson, riding the crest of a wave after two stoppage wins over David Price this year, looked weary after a strong ninth round from his opponent and Pulev finished the fight by far the stronger.
Scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112 reflected Pulev's superiority, and he could now be in line to fight Klitschko early next year should the Ukrainian overcome Alexander Povetkin in October.
On the undercard, Arthur Abraham (37-4) got back to winning ways after his stoppage loss to Robert Stieglitz by beating journeyman Willbeforce Shihepo (20-7) on points.
Also Juergen Braehmer (41-2) beat Stefano Abatangelo (17-3-1) over 12 rounds to retain his European light-heavyweight title.