Cuban heavyweight star Lenier Pero stunned European contender Viktor Faust with a tremendous comeback knockout to stay undefeated.
Trailing on two of the judges’ scorecards, Peró pulverized Ukraine’s Faust with a hard right to the body. He followed with a left hand that rendered Faust defenseless and out on his feet in the eighth round.
Peró pounced on Faust and landed several more unanswered punches, causing referee Rafael Ramos to stop the heavyweight contest.
The end came at 2:28 of the eighth round of the scheduled 10-round bout to hand Faust the first loss of his career as Peró remained perfect.
It was a stunning turn of events, as Faust controlled the action with his long jab and hard, thudding right hands until the final moments.
Faust out-landed his opponent 389-183 in total punches. He hurt Peró with a sweeping counter left to end the third round.
That punch stunned Peró before the bell saved him.
While absorbing the heavier shots, Peró remained committed to Faust’s body. He landed 51 body shots throughout the bout, even as he fought off his back foot.
Faust continuously advanced.
In the eighth round, it all came to a head when Peró caught Faust with a right to the body. A follow-up left to the head hurt him so badly that he stopped fighting and turned his back on his opponent.
“After the 6th round, I had pain in my ribs. But I decided to continue the fight,” said Faust. “The pain increased and did not allow me to compete to my full potential.
“I understood that I was winning and controlling the fight during the bout. But after missing a punch in the eighth round, the pain was so unbearable that I could no longer move.
“As a result, I won on points, but the injury gave the victory to my opponent.”
Peró faced current unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and has multiple victories over countryman Frank Sanchez in the amateurs.
He finished off Faust to improve to 9-0 with 5 KOs. Faust dropped to 11-1 with 7 KOs.
Faust has now lost to both Peró brothers as Faust was also defeated by his younger brother Dainier in the amateurs.
Lenier Pero eyes UK targets
“It was a tough fight,” Peró said in the ring afterward. “He’s a great fighter, so I started to build momentum and hit him. Then we finally came ahead in the final round.
“Since the first round, I was trying to find his liver, trying to go to his body. His punches weren’t that powerful, so I kept working. Then found that final shot.
“This is pro boxing, and you can’t turn your back on anyone. You can’t turn your back, and I didn’t. I took advantage.”
Pero is targeting top UK stars. He wants to face the likes of Tyson Fury, Daniel Dubois, or Dillian Whyte next.
“I’m setting my sights on England. Let’s see if the Brits would like to come to fight Stateside.
“I would welcome them with open arms. I’m talking Tyson Fury, Dubois. Bring them on!”