Top heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin, 16-0 (12), stayed busy in preparation to his likely challenge of World Champion Wladimir Klitschko later this year by overcoming America's Taurus Sykes, 25-5-1 (7), at 0:48 of the second round last night at Olimpyskiy Sports Palace in the Moscow suburb of Chekhov, Russia.
28 year old Moscow based Povetkin has impressed as a professional after capping off a sterling amateur career by winning the Gold Medal for Russia at super heavyweight during the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Since joining the punch for pay rat race in 2005, Povetkin has gone through opposition at an alarming rate, participating in four or five bouts a year and in addition to Sykes, has defeated Eddie Chambers, Chris Byrd and Larry Donald over the last 13 months.
Against Sykes, Povetkin looked like the world-beater who swept through the amateur ranks in the earlier part of this decade, mixing up his punches in a fluid, combination style that had the American looking for answers from the off.
A ten year pro, Sykes has faced good to decent competition in the form of Samuel Peter, Hasim Rahman, Owen Beck, Imamu Mayfield, Sherman Williams, Derek Bryant and Friday Ahunanya but was clearly out-boxed by the Russian gunner, hitting the floor in both the second and third frames, and after taking many flush punches was stopped at 0:48 of the fourth round.
In his accelerated run up to title fight contention, Povetkin has performed superbly but Wladimir Klitschko presents a far greater threat to the Russian's undefeated record than the fare that has been put in front of Povetkin so far.
On the undercard, Russian middleweight prospect Dmitry Pirog, 12-0 (10), won a tough bout with England based Serbian fighter Geard Ajetovic, 16-3-1 (8), emerging victorious on points after ten rounds of trench warfare.
Ex-European Welterweight Champion Michel Trabant, 43-4-1 (19), was attempting to return from a stoppage loss to future WBC Champion Andre Berto in February but the German was outpointed by light middleweight Roman Seliverstov, 8-7 (1), in an eight rounder.