IBF super middleweight king Lucian Bute made sure his homecoming tonight at Romexpo in Bucharest, Romania was a successful outing by ending the challenge of Jean Paul Mendy in explosive fashion.
Bute started the first round probing fellow southpaw Mendy's defenses with the jab and edged in closer with very little coming back from the challenger.
Mendy missed with most of his efforts but did manage to land a decent left hand at the end of the round, which Bute won by controlling the action and staying busier.
Bute became more aggressive in the second and Mendy responded by getting on his bike, looking to avoid engaging the champion. Mendy tried to come forward but Bute slipped the right hand and clocked Mendy with a short counter right hook.
Mendy continued to try and press Bute and while most of his efforts were misses, he did land a few shots on the inside. Bute got more serious and came forward to reel off a sharp combination that caught Mendy off-guard.
A little more careful but still coming forward, Mendy put Bute on the ropes and the fighters shared a good exchange before Bute went back to center ring.
Mendy again put Bute on the ropes and managed a good left both to the body and head of the champion. Bute responded with a hard jab that was followed by a series of right hooks that all scored.
Undeterred, Mendy continued his aggression and swapped punches but Bute began to put power into his shots, ramming home a few hooks and power left hands before the end of the frame.
The third saw Mendy charge in behind right jabs and actively try to take the fight to the champion but the Frenchman couldn't keep the initiative as Bute began coming forward now while looking to keep Mendy at the end of the jab.
Mendy tried charging forward but couldn't land anything of value. The challenger got Bute on the ropes again but the champion clinched his way off.
Changing strategy, Mendy began to wing big overhand shots but that only served to get Bute more serious,as rocked the challenger with two big left hands that had Mendy on his bike again. After the pair traded right hands to the body and missed most everything else, the third came to a close.
Once again, Mendy started the next round aggressively but Bute was able nullify the effort. Bute began to back Mendy up again with the jab and ducked a wild overhand left.
Mendy put Bute on the ropes and managed to land a few glancing blows on his weaving quarry before Bute forced a clinch. Bute held the center of the ring and landed a few counters and lead hooks but wasn't putting much on the shots as Mendy mostly missed what he threw.
Bute continued to try to lure Mendy in and the challenger obliged and at one point had a good sequence upstairs and down but Bute was unaffected.
On the inside, Bute missed with a right but followed it immediately with a chopping left to Mendy's jaw that caused the visitor to drop like a felled tree, face first onto the canvas with only a few seconds remaining in the fourth.
Bute improves to 29-0 (240, retaining the IBF title for the eighth time while Mendy suffers his first loss, dropping to 29-1-1 (16).
Also on the bill, local man Viorel Simion, 14-0 (6), KO'd Jun Talape, 20-8-1 (8), in the ninth to take the Filipino's WBC International featherweight belt.