It was another display of dominance by Heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko last night as "Dr. Steelhammer" rubbed out the ambitions of challenger Kubrat Pulev at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
Pulev came into the contest perhaps in possession of the best pure boxing skills of any of Klitschko's challengers during his eight year title reign and the Bulgarian sought to make use of those tools by standing rather close to the champion from the first bell.
The two towering heavyweights stood in front of each other, feinting and pawing, until getting a measure of the other and then the punches began to fly. Klitschko was staggered after walking into a stiff Pulev jab, which emboldened the challenger to drive the champion across the ring.
But the confidence Pulev gained was short-lived as he himself was caught by a shot, dropped by a left hook to the temple. Pulev made it up on very shaky legs after getting floored again with a right but somehow made it through the first round.
As the bout heated up, Klitschko began to clinch whenever things moved to the inside and Pulev responded with incessant rabbit-punching, and Klitschko eventually began to retaliate with the same.
In rounds three, four and five, the skill and punching power of Klitschko put the champion in the driver's seat as Pulev began to show signs of the punishment he was absorbing, getting canvassed in the third.
Pulev managed to get in a few good shots in the fourth and fifth frames but could not disrupt the offensive rhythm of Klitschko.
The end came in the fifth when Pulev was caught with a massive left hook and dropped heavily onto his back, counted out at 2:11 of the frame.
With the win, Klitschko improves to 63-3 (53), tightening his hold on the division and still in possession of every title belt except the WBC.
Pulev, 20-1 (11), suffers his first defeat.