Artur Beterbiev stops Enrico Koelling in 12, wins vacant IBF light heavyweight title
Light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev dominated Enrico Koelling for 11-plus rounds, eventually dropping the German boxer twice and stopping him in Round 12 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, on Saturday.
With the win, Beterbiev wins the IBF light heavyweight title, which was vacated by Andre Ward earlier this year.
Beterbiev (12-0, 12 knockouts) had not fought since Dec. 23 and the ring-rust was evident early on. Beterbiev walked Koelling down against the ropes, but not all his punches landed cleanly. Even though he was working behind a jab, Beterbiev rarely threw combinations, something he has done in previous fights.
Koelling (23-2, 6 KOs), who had won his previous seven bouts, would land an occasional punch, but did little to engage with Beterbiev.
The lack of action and the receptiveness of each round brought down a cascade of boos from the crowd, who were awaiting the main event bout between Jose Ramirez, who hails from nearby Avenal, and Mike Reed.
Beterbiev pressed the action during the final round, aggressively walking Koelling down throughout the round. Beterbiev hurt Koelling midway through the round, dropping him moments later.
Koelling would beat the count and fought back, but was dropped again by a Beterbiev right hand. Referee Dr. Lou Moret stepped in and stopped the bout at 2:33.