Bulgarian challenger Kubrat Pulev (20-1, 11 KOs) proved to be too weak in the chin tonight in getting stopped in the 5th round by IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs) at the O2 Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
Pulev was knocked down four times in the fight from left hooks. He was down twice in the 1st, once in the 3rd and a final time in the 5th. Referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight at 2:11 of the 5th after Wladimir put Pulev down with a left hook to the head that put Pulev down on his back. The shot caused a huge swelling under Pulev’s right eye.
Despite winning the fight, Wladimir hardly looked good. He could finished Pulev off in the 1st round after knocking him down twice with left hooks, but Wladimir failed to let his hands go enough. Much of the time, Wladimir would grab Pulev in a clinch, and then wait until referee Tony Weeks would break them apart. Pulev was able to land a lot of punches to the back of Wladimir’s head during the many clinches in the fight.
You’d have thought that Wladimir would have gotten a clue after the first couple of rounds that it was pointless to clinch Pulev, because it gave him the opportunity to openly foul with rabbit punches. Weeks wasn’t going to do anything to control Pulev’s rabbit punches, so Wladimir should have fought the urge to clinch and instead focus on throwing power punches. Pulev was there to be knocked out after the 1st round, but Wladimir wasted a great deal of time by not letting his hands go enough for the next four rounds.
In the 3rd round, Wladimir hit Pulev with a long right hand that snapped his head around hard. Wladimir then dropped Pulev with a left hand followed by a shove.
Pulev hurt his own cause by coming into the fight with extra muscle that he really didn’t need. The extra muscle appeared to slow Pulev down, making it harder for him to land his shots. Had Pulev taken the fight without all the emphasis on bulking up, he might have given Wladimir more problems.
Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with Wladimir. He won the fight, but he looked uncoordinated.
In undercard action, Eduard Gutknecht (26-3-1, 9 KOs) defeated Christian Pawlak (20-7-1, 11 KOs) by an 8 round decision.