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Boxing | International

Vitali Klitschko (R) and his challenger Manuel Charr © Action Images

Klitschko still the WBC boss

Vitali Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight title in Moscow on Saturday night when his fight against Manuel Charr was stopped in the fourth round.

A cut to the side of the challenger’s right eye was bad enough to force the stoppage, recommended to referee Guido Cavalleri by the ring doctor.

When he realised the fight was over and he had lost, Charr immediately kicked and punched the ropes, showing more aggression than in the 11 minutes and 4 seconds that the bout lasted.

Having made a dramatic entrance and doing a good job of pretending to stare the champion down before the first round, Charr showed acting talent. His performance after the stoppage was even better. He really did look upset.

But as long as the fight lasted he never troubled the 41-year-old Klitschko, who showed the hand speed of a 55-year-old.

Fair enough, the champion had to fight a fighter who did not really want to fight, which is always difficult. But even in taking his record to 45-2, with 41 knockouts, Klitschko did not look like one of the two men – his brother Wladimir being the other one – who have dominated heavyweight boxing for a few years.

Indeed, he and Charr provided more evidence that heavyweight boxing is in big trouble.

Charr tried to hide behind his gloves for most of the first two rounds but a right to the top of the head sent him down for an eight-count right at the end of the second.

In the third, he tried to goad Klitschko into coming forward and actually landed a couple of decent lefts to the veteran’s face. But a stiff left hook late in the fourth resulted in the cut that would have taken a while and several stitches to repair.

Charr, 27, also lost his undefeated status, dropping to 21-1; 11.

On the undercard Magomed Abdusalamov knocked out American Jameel McCline in the second round after taking a count in the first round.

Abdusalamov is now unbeaten after 16 fights and 16 knockouts. McCline dropped to 41-13-3, with 24 knockouts.


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