ADONIS STEVENSON KNOCKS OUT DMITRY SUKHOTSKIY TO RETAIN WBC LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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Adonis Stevenson defended his WBC Light Heavyweight World Championship for the fourth time with a devastating fifth-round knockout of Russian challenger Dmitry Sukhotskiy in the main event of SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION on Friday at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada.

Known for his knockouts, the southpaw champion was patient early, not forcing the action against a defensive Sukhotskiy.  When Sukhotskiy did decide to punch, Stevenson was extremely effective with his counter shots and floored the challenger with a straight left in the closing seconds of the second round.

Stevenson (25-1, 21 KOs) hit his stride in the fifth, knocking down Sukhotskiy with a straight left and then flooring him for a third time seconds after Sukhotskiy beat the count.  The onslaught continued, with the Haitian-born Canadian going for the kill and attacking with a series of vicious lefts.  The final shot landed flush oo the chin, knocking Sukhotskiy (22-3, 16 KOs) out at 2:42 of the round.

“I gave a beautiful knockout for SHOWTIME,” Stevenson said.  “I just used my speed, my movement.  I have the power and I know the knockouts are going to come.  I’m not going to force it.  I was just waiting for him and, bang, I caught him.  I wanted to hit him with my left hand and it worked.

“I’m the big champion.  He has to come to me,” said Stevenson of any challengers.  “I’m the man in the light heavyweight division. They have to come to me. My job is to go in the ring and knock everybody out.  I’m a ‘Superman.’”

In the co-feature, Jo Jo Dan won another razor close split-decision over hometown favorite Kevin Bizier in a welterweight rematch of their 2013 bout, scored 115-112 Dan, 114-113 Bizier, 114-113 Dan.

The early rounds were extremely close with back-and-forth action that could have gone either way.  Bizier had his best round in the seventh, landing 38 punches to Dan’s 12 and flooring the Romanian for the first time since 2011.  But the Quebec City native may have punched himself out, as Dan rallied and was the more active fighter from that point on.  Dan landed 113 to just 78 for Bizier from the eighth through the 12th rounds.

“It was a very hard fight,” Dan said.  “Kevin is a warrior.  I did my best in the ring.  I think I controlled the action and I think I won the fight.  He changed a lot from the first right.  He moved a lot, and he surprised me with that.  He caught me, but I came up and I came up stronger.  He spent all his energy to put me down.”

With the win, Dan (34-2, 18 KOs) became the IBF No. 1 contender to champion Kell Brook at 147 pounds.

“Yes, of course (I’d fight Bizier again), but first I want to fight Kell Brook,” Dan said.  “I hope we’ll make an exciting fight like this one.”

After the fight, Bizier (23-2, 16 KOs) was disappointed to again be on the losing end of a close split-decision.

“All the close rounds went to Jo Jo,” Bizier said.  “We knew we had to win those last two rounds and I guess they gave it to him.  When I hurt Jo Jo in the seventh I hurt my right hand.  At that point, I was fighting with one hand.

“Let’s fight again. Why not?  The first two fights were close.  I don’t know why, but the judges just seem to give the close rounds to him.”

Super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell was triumphant in his return to SHOWTIME, registering a near-shutout 12-round decision over Derek Edwards, scored 119-109, 120-108, 119-107.

The switch-hitting Dirrell fought entirely from the southpaw stance and dominated the bout from the opening bell, landing lefts and combinations with ease while breaking down Edwards and maintaining his distance.  Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs) landed 46 percent of his power punches compared to Edwards’ 19 percent.  Edwards (27-4-1, 14 KOs) only managed to land one jab through the entire 12 rounds.

“I want to perfect my craft as far as fighting southpaw,” Dirrell said.  “I was shooting the left hand.  This guy has a tough, tough head so I’m not going to doubt my power one bit.  I’m glad to walk away with a victory.  My knuckle was hurting but it wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t throw it.  This boy could take a punch.

“I’m getting there. I’m proud of my performance, but it was a tough 12 rounds.”

Dirrell, who advanced to the No. 2 spot in the IBF super middleweight standings, was asked after the fight by SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray if he’d like to avenge his lone loss to IBF 168-pound champ Carl Froch.

“I believe he’s scared to fight me,” Dirrell said.  “It’s too risky a fight to take.  But I’m going to push it to the best of my ability.  There’s a win on his record that’s questionable to everyone in the world.  Give me the rematch.  Prove to your fans that you beat me and try to do it again.  Step in the ring with Andre Dirrell and you’re going to see what I’m all about.”

In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev kept his perfect record intact with his seventh knockout in his seventh professional bout, finishing previously unbeaten Jeff Page Jr. at 2:21 of the second round.

Page (15-1, 10 KOs) surprised Beterbiev in the first, knocking down the former Russian amateur champion for the first time in his career.  But Beterbiev (7-0, 7 KOs) stormed back in the second, roughed Page up in the inside and floored the Kansas native.  Page beat the count but was dazed and Beterbiev finished him with a lead right hand that sent Page face-forward to the canvas.

“I felt a bit sleepy before the fight and I don’t think I was concentrating for a fraction of a second (in the first round),” Beterbiev said.  “I got angry after the knockdown and decided to go forward.  I have a lot to learn in professional boxing, but I’m looking forward to the experience.”

When asked if he thinks he could beat WBO/WBA/IBF Champion Sergey Kovalev, who he defeated as an amateur, Beterbiev was noncommittal.

“I beat him (Kovalev) as an amateur so I can’t say much,” Beterbiev said.  “It’s hard to say right now.”

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