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Bloodied Beterbiev Downs Browne To Retain Titles

The unbeaten run of unified light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev continued when he beat Marcus Browne with a ninth-round finish in Montreal last night.

The Canadian-based Russian defended his WBC and IBF titles in the ruthless fashion we’ve come to expect from the 36-year-old who remains the leader at 175lbs.

Browne’s challenge was a game one and gave the champion some problems to solve in the opening two rounds. The hunted moved his foe clockwise while trying to avoid being trapped in the corner by the hunter. 

Beterbiev was knocking at the door, but no-one was answering as Browne kept him at bay with his jab and proved to be happy to exchange in the rough stuff that was coming his way.

As Browne became more adventurous and confident, throwing a right hook then immediately ducking to avoid any blows coming his way, he ran into trouble when a hook of Beterbiev’s own caught the 31-year-old when his hands was down in round three.

Matters became bloody in the fourth stanza when the champion got cut in the middle of his forehead after a clash of heads in the opening minute. Browne also suffered damage but appeared to be not as worse off as the man who was beginning to find his range. In fact, Beterbiev looked scarier than usual as blood poured down over his face. His crimson mask appeared to spur him on as he began to keep Browne pinned on the ropes for longer periods and teed off to the body.

It soon became one-way traffic as Beterbiev’s success came from four and five punch combinations that continually tagged Browne who was doing all he could to survive. After a dominant fifth and sixth round the home favourite made a significant dent in the seventh when with 90 seconds to go, he dropped his sixth world title challenger with a left downstairs and a right upstairs. Browne returned to his feet, but the writing appeared to be very much plastered all over the wall.

To his credit Browne retired fire in what was a last stand in the round that followed. The New Jersey native forced his bloodied foe back to the centre of the ring and kept him quiet for the majority of the three minutes.

Beterbiev had seen enough in the opening seconds of the ninth and dished out some brutal work that would have had Browne wondering what day it was. Clubbing combinations finally took their toll when a left to the body and a short-left uppercut put Browne back down once again with over two minutes still left to go. As the count of referee Michael Griffin reached ten it was clear that the fight had been punched out of the beaten Browne who had enough of the punishment he had taken. His record now moves to (24-2, 16 KOs).

A smiling Beterbiev, with the cut to the forehead still spilling out the red stuff, was quite the image. Seventeen wins, seventeen knockouts and there appears to be no sign of the dominant champion slowing in what appeared to be a tricky test on paper.

In a brief post-fight interview Beterbiev spoke about the cut caused earlier in the fight.

“This is another experience in my career for me,” he said. “It’s boxing. I’m happy to win.”.

As for what is next Beterbiev didn’t give listeners any potential opponents for us to ponder and instead said, “Next [is] a night of good sleep! We will see. We’re ready for any fight. To be the best you need to beat the best.”

The trouble is Beterbiev is the best at light-heavyweight, and it will take a man of cunning, skill, power and incredible bravery to overcome one of the most dominant champions in the sport.