Former two-weight world titlist Danny Green was thwarted in his attempt to capture the WBC cruiserweight title when reigning champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk mounted a late rally to halt Aussie legend at Challenge Stadium in Mt Claremount, Australia on Wednesday.
A career cruiserweight, Poland's Wlodarczyk came into the contest having made two defenses of the WBC crown and had not suffered defeat since an IBF title loss to Steve Cunningham in 2007.
38 year old Green, who turned pro as a super middleweight, came into the bout following the loss of his IBO cruiser crown against Antonio Tarver in July and was the definite underdog going in against the 30 year old Wlodarczyk.
In the early rounds, Green was the more active fighter, jabbing from a distance to the head and body and at times following up with right hands and left hooks while Wlodarczyk maintained a slight pressure, which forced Green to expend energy by being constantly on the move.
By the fifth Green found his rhythm and beat the slower champion to the punch during exchanges, getting in solid blows from both hands that shook Wlodarczyk.
But Green could not duplicate his success afterward and Wlodarczyk, who by the seventh had closed distance on the challenger, began to find range with his own artillery.
Green was forced to clinch and wrestle with Wlodarczyk when the champion got in close, further sapping the challenger's stamina.
Wlodarczyk was firmly in control by the tenth, patiently waiting out Green's frequent clinching and shaking off anything the local hero was managing to land.
Several heavy right hands from Wlodarczyk were right on target, one of which rocked Green badly and bloodied the Perth man's nose.
The eleventh saw Wlodarczyk end matters with a left hook to the chin that Green never saw coming. Green collapsed and fell halfway through the ropes yet somehow managed to beat the count.
Referee Michael Griffin stopped matters as Green appeared to be in bad condition at 2:15 of the round.
Wlodarczyk improves to 46-2-1 (33), while Green, who was leading on the scorecards prior to the stoppage, drops to 31-5 (27).
The undercard saw WBA featherweight champion Chris John, 46-0-2 (22), outpoint challenger Stanyslav Merdov, 32-8 (24), over 12 rounds by margins of 115-112, 115-112 and 116-111.
Super feather Will Tomlinson, 18-0-1 (12), won the vacant IBO belt by posting a 118-111, 117-111 and 116-112 verdict after 12 rounds against Alan Herrera, 26-4 (17).