By Johnny Walker
Unbeaten Russian heavyweight Alexander Ustinov stopped game American Jason “The Sensation” Gavern today in round seven, winning the IBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title at the Sportpalace in Kharkov, Ukraine.
Gavern came out aggressive, and acquitted himself admirably in this fight against a much taller opponent. The first few rounds saw shifts in momentum, as Gavern repeatedly stung Ustinov with some hard right hand leads, along with some nice body shots, while Ustinov attempted to use his jab to set up some big right hand bombs. More often than not, however, Ustinov was missing the mark with his punches.
By round four, Ustinov, who may have been trailing on the scorecards, stepped it up, and hurt Gavern with a flurry of blows. Gavern recovered to land another hard right hand, but Ustinov trapped him against the ropes, using his immense size to smother Gavern while landing some awkward punches.
Ustinov teed off on Gavern as round five commenced, and the American entertained the crowd by exhorting the Russian giant to bring it on. Ustinov was now continually leaning on Gavern and pulling him downward in an attempt to tire him out, and this brought a warning from the referee. Gavern then again won over the crowd with some exaggerated stutter steps.
Gavern fought back in round six, landing a hard left hook and another stinging right hand lead as Ustinov continued to lean on him and use his 308 pounds as dead weight to wear the American down.
Round seven saw Ustinov sticking some hard left jabs in Gavern’s face. A flurry from Ustinov resulted in Gavern taking a hard punch to the top or back of the head, and Gavern went to a knee. Now wobbly, the American complained to the referee about a rabbit punch, but to no avail. A left-right combination from Ustinov sent Gavern back to the mat, and he arose again to beat the count, this time with a swollen right eye.
A hard left to the body from the Russian giant saw Gavern wince in pain, hitting the mat for the third and final time. Gavern remained on one knee as the referee counted him out.
After the fight, Ustinov (27-0, 21 KOs) reportedly said in an interview that based on this win, a fight with WBC heavyweight kingpin Vitali Klitschko is now in the works.
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