Artur Beterbiev Retains IBF Light Heavyweight Title With TKO Win On ESPN; Gabriel Flores Jr. Scores Vicious KO

Artur Beterbiev's impressive knockout streak continues with yet another action-packed bout.

In the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN card from Stockton, California, Beterbiev stopped Radivoje Kalajdzic in the fifth round to retain the IBF light heavyweight world title. The stoppage keeps Beterbiev's knockout rate at 100 percent, remaining the only active world champion to have never gone the distance as a pro.

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Beterbiev got off to a strong start, dropping Kalajdzic late in the third round with a straight left hand followed by a series of punches that forced Kalajdzic to drop to one knee. Kalajdzic recovered and in the fourth round, the two fighters traded big power shots with both men landing solid punches on each other. At the start of the fifth round, Beterbiev peppered Kalajdzic with more punches upstairs and as soon as Kalajdzic went to the ropes, referee Dan Stell stepped in to end the fight.

This was Beterbiev’s second world title defense since winning the belt, last held by Andre Ward, back in 2017. Beterbiev’s last title defense was another early stoppage, taking place in October 2018 in Chicago where he knocked out Callum Johnson in the fourth round.

But perhaps the star of the night was undefeated prospect and Stockton-native Gabriel Flores Jr., who had his homecoming fight against Eduardo Pereira Reis right before Beterbiev's title defense. Flores landed a thunderous left hook early in the third round that immediately knocked Reis out, sending the crowd into a frenzy and celebrating Flores' successful return to his hometown. With the win, Flores now moves to 13-0 as a pro with six knockout victories.

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