By Johnny Walker
Polish heavyweight contender Mariusz Wach defended his WBC International heavyweight title and kept his perfect record intact Saturday night with a sixth round TKO win over game journeyman Jason Gavern at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The 6’8” Wach (26-0, 14 KOs) came out of the gate quickly, keeping Gavern on the end of a stiff left jab while teeing off with hard right hands, one of which sent Gavern to the mat in round one. Gavern recovered, and began charging at Wach to try and negate the Pole’s reach advantage in round two, only to have Wach drop him once again with another right hand bomb.
Gavern (21-9-4, 10 KOs), however, was not done yet. In round three, he began blitzing Wach with flurries of punches, some of which connected, but none of which did any real damage. Gavern also began to taunt Wach, hooting at him cowboy style after the lantern jawed Pole hit him with a barrage of punches near the end of the round. Wach was riled enough to pursue Gavern after the bell rang, the fight developing a nasty edge.
In round four, Gavern again tried to blitz Wach, landing a few decent body shots in the process. Wach was head-hunting now, looking for the knockout blow. A hard left jab from Wach stunned Gavern and sent him reeling backwards near the end of the round. Gavern landed a right hand on Wach as round five commenced, but the journeyman looked totally gassed now. Wach landed a vicious right and then moved in to finish Gavern, and in resulting flurry hit him with a borderline low shot, drawing a warning from the referee.
With little left in the tank, Gavern drew Wach into a wild slugfest at the beginning of round six, hoping to land a decisive blow. It was Wach, however, who came out on top of the exchange, rocking Gavern with a hard right hand that sent him into the ropes, his eyes rolling in his head. The referee had seen enough, and waved off the fight at 1:03 of round six.
Gavern, 34, was a last-minute stand-in for former heavyweight champion and Lennox Lewis conqueror Oliver McCall, who failed to obtain a license to fight due to an unnamed medical issue. As such, Gavern did his bit to provide some competition for Wach and make the fight an entertaining one.
Wach, 31, had been named as a possible next opponent for world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, but cries of protest that the Pole wasn’t ready for such a test seemed to cause the Klitschko camp to back away. Ironically, Klitschko instead called on veteran French ex-cruiserweight champion Jean Marc Mormeck for his next title defense, a man whose career has been headed in the opposite direction of Wach’s, and who figures to provide far less of a challenge to the Ukrainian superstar.
Also on the card, highly touted Polish heavyweight Artur Szpilka (9-0-0) was surprised by a first round knockdown at the hands of American David Saulsberry (7-4), but recovered to stop Saulsberry by TKO at one minute into the second round.
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