Vitali Klitschko retained his World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title via a ninth-round technical knockout (TKO) of Juan Carlos Gomez on Saturday night.

The 37-year-old Ukrainian twice put down the Germany-based Cuban defector in the seventh and ninth rounds, before Belgian referee Daniel van de Wiele stopped the fight with one minute, 11 seconds remaining in the ninth round.

The 35-year-old Gomez was the mandatory challenger and a former sparring partner of Klitschko . He was seeking to become the first world heavyweight champion from Cuba.

“I knew that he was a world-class boxer,” Klitschko said. “I said before that the fight would not be easy.”

“I was a little hectic,” Klitschko said. “I wanted to end the fight earlier but I didn’t get to hit him enough.”

Klitschko said he could now meet the giant Russian Nikolai Valuev, who holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) title. Meanwhile his brother, Vladimir Klitschko, holder of the International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organisation (WBO) and International Boxing Organisation (IBO) titles, could soon be in the ring against Britain’s rising star, David Haye.


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