Klitschko TKOs Gomez; Byrd, Thompson Win

By Per Ake Persson: March 21, Stuttgart, Germany: WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko retained the title with a hard fought ninth round stoppage of the brave Cuban Black Panther, Juan Carlos Gomez. The fight was stopped at 1.49 with Gomez taking a beating along the ropes. He had been down earler in the round as well and was also hurt by a clash of heads that led to a point deduction from Klitschko. After eight rounds the big Ukrainian was ahead on scores of 80-71 and 79-72 twice. Gomez was fast out at the first bell while Klitschko looked rusty and clumsy..

But by the third the champion found the range with powerful if awkward punches and it was obvious that Gomez, as good boxer as he is, wasnīt strong enough to shake Klitschko. Gomez was hurt and floored in the seventh and was close to being stopped. Later in the round he was on his way down but wrestled Klitschko down with him and no count was issued although Gomez barely could get up.

After four the judges had scored the fight 40-36 and 39-37 twice for Klitschko which looked a bit hard on the challenger - the scoring here probably led to Gomezī downfall as he was forced to be more agressive, taking more chances and thus left himself open.

Chris Byrd, fresh off three weeks of sparring with Vitali Klitschko, stopped the outclassed German Mathias Sandow in the fourth round of a scheduled eight-rounder. Byrd, down to cruiser, looked fit, trim and toyed with his opponent before opening up in the fourth forcing a stoppage. Tony "the Tiger" Thompson, also a sparring partner for Vitali, had a much tougher opponent in Adnan Serin but won a fifth round tko when Serinīs chief cornerman threw in the towel.

There was a final ten count for WBC representative Edmund Lipinski, 74, who passed away in Stuttgart Friday. Lipinskiīs last creation was the WBC Baltic Sea title and he was also the man behind the CIS / Slovanic title that at first was sort of a "pirate" organisation before Lipinski got affiliated with the Russian Federation-

American heavy Nathan James got an easy win when Taras Varva injured his shoulder 15 seconds into the very first round and was unable to continue.

Article posted on 21.03.2009

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