Martinez stops Dzinziruk in 8
Sergio Martinez stopped Sergiy Dzinziruk in the eighth round of their middleweight bout in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on Saturday night.
Martinez, the WBC emeritus champion, knocked the Ukrainian down five times during a highly entertaining fight at the Foxwoods Resort complex.
But it was no one-way fight; not by a long shot. The Argentinian, who received the WBC diamond belt for his trouble, had his hands full with a talented, courageous opponent.
The two southpaws restored the status of the jab as a valuable attacking weapon early on and Martinez was bleeding under the left eye at the end of the seventh round.
But sheer punching power carried him to a victory that should impact on his income for his next few fights.
Dzinziruk matched Martinez in most departments but just did not have the same power behind his gloves. He was on the canvas briefly in the fourth round but was up in a flash and ready to attack.
In the fifth round, Martinez nailed him with two jabs and two lefts to the head to have him in the deck for the second time in the bout.
That was the beginning of the end. The same combination knocked him down twice in the eighth and when he went down again immediately, the referee sensibly stepped in at 1 minute 43 seconds and made an end to it.
"I had my highest level of motivation ever," said Martinez. "I want to be the best in the world."
The 35-year-old is a former WBC and WBO middleweight champion. His record now stands at 47-2-2, including 26 knockouts.
His only losses were to Antonio Margarito (tko 7) in February 2000 and Paul Williams (points 12) in December 2009.
In a return fight, he knocked out Williams in the second round last November.
Dzinziruk, 34 years old, is the WBO junior middleweight champion. He dropped to 38-37 and 23 stoppages.
He was an outstanding amateur who won a silver medal at the 1997 world championships. He is also the longest reining champion in the junior middleweight division.
The "diamond" belt, green and gold, has an 18-carat gold plate, 598 diamonds, 196 emeralds, rubies and 156 Swarovski gemstones.
It costs approximately $50 000 (R345 000) and is regarded as a bonus when there is no title at stake.