An ecstatic Bermane Stiverne became the first Haitian-born world heavyweight champion with a crushing sixth round stoppage win over American Chris Arreola in Los Angeles, California.
The 37 year-old, who is now based in Las Vegas at Floyd Mayweather’s gym, rocked Arreola at the end of the first round before taking his foot off the gas and allowing the ‘Nightmare’ back into the fight for the next two.
‘B-Ware’ looked vulnerable at times as Arreola loaded up on the ropes, although Stiverne always had the counter equalizer which could put his opponent in trouble at any point – and so it proved.
A better fourth and fifth round for Stiverne softened Arreola up for the finish, which eventually came in the sixth round via a huge right hand over the top to the temple. Arreola’s legs were completely gone, although experienced referee Jack Reiss gave him the benefit of the doubt, not once but twice.
Following a second knockdown, the fight should really have been stopped, but given the enormity of the contest, Arreola was allowed the chance to defend himself from another Stiverne onslaught. Four more heavy heads shot reigned down on Arreola and Reiss had no choice but to end the bout, handing Stiverne the WBC belt to wild and emotional scenes inside the ring at the USC Galen Center.
Stiverne was overcome with joy, even shedding tears at his achievement as he became the first WBC title holder from outside Ukraine since Samuel Peter held the championship in 2008.
Wladimir Klitschko has already thrown his hat into the ring for a shot at Stiverne following his brother Vitali’s decision to vacate the belt, although Deontay Wilder will lay claim to being the mandatory challenger sometime in the coming months.
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