Artur Beterbiev did what Badou Jack couldn’t accomplish against Marcus Browne.
Beterbiev fought through a gruesome gash on his forehead to knock out the game, skillful Browne in the ninth round of their light heavyweight title fight Friday night at Bell Centre in Montreal. The Russian knockout artist’s face was a bloody mess after an accidental clash of heads cut him and Browne in the fourth round, but it didn’t deter Beterbiev from keeping his perfect record intact (17-0, 17 KOs).
Browne, who beat a similarly bloodied Jack by unanimous decision in their fight for the WBA interim title in January 2019, decided during the ninth round that he could no longer take Beterbiev’s vaunted power. The southpaw allowed referee Michael Griffin to count him out 46 seconds into the ninth round after Beterbiev dropped him for the second time in their fight.
Montreal’s Beterbiev, who was listed as an 8-1 favorite by Caesars Sportsbook, retained his IBF and WBC light heavyweight titles. Browne (24-2, 16 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Staten Island, was the mandatory challenger for Beterbiev’s WBC title.
Beterbiev bled badly from his nasty cut for five-plus rounds, but the hard-hitting champion wore down Browne and a knockout appeared inevitable over the final few rounds.
“I don’t get bothered by blood,” Beterbiev said. “It’s a fight. Things happen. I always go for the knockout.”
A left hook and a straight right to Browne’s head backed him into a corner early in the ninth round. Beterbiev followed him and unloaded a left to Browne’s body that made him take a knee for the second time in three rounds, just about 30 seconds into the ninth round.
Browne watched Griffin count to 10 and didn’t attempt to get up.
A right hand by Beterbiev snapped back Browne’s head about 1:15 into the eighth round. Browne mostly moved away from Beterbiev in the round, but Beterbiev became more accurate and Browne’s punch output slowed down.
Beterbiev bullied Browne into the ropes and hammered away at him with just under two minutes to go in the seventh round. A left hook to Browne’s body and then a straight right to his head sent Browne to one knee just before the halfway point of the seventh round.
Browne took his time and got up when Griffin’s count reached eight.
A left hook by Beterbiev backed Browne into the ropes approximately 45 seconds into the sixth round. Beterbiev began battering Browne with left hooks and right hands when there was just under a minute on the clock in the sixth round.
Beterbiev landed two more right hands toward the end of the sixth round that affected Browne and moved him into the ropes.
A ringside physician examined the cuts above Browne’s right eye and on Beterbiev’s forehead before the fifth round was allowed to begin.
Blood poured profusely from Beterbiev’s cut throughout the fifth round.
Beterbiev landed two short right hands around the midway mark of the fifth round. Griffin warned Beterbiev soon thereafter for intentionally stepping on Browne’s foot.
With Browne backed against the ropes, Beterbiev caught Browne with two hard left hooks toward the end of the fifth round. Browne mostly covered up to protect himself, but he did land a right hook in an entertaining exchange.
Beterbiev blasted Browne with a right hand that backed Browne into a corner barely 30 seconds into the fourth round. Several seconds later, an accidental clash of heads caused a nasty gash on Beterbiev’s forehead and a cut over Browne’s right eye.
Blood flowed from Beterbiev’s forehead when the action resumed. Browne bled badly from his cut as well.
Beterbiev blasted Browned with a left to the body with just under 50 seconds on the clock in the fourth round.
Beterbiev landed a right hand a little less than 20 seconds into the third round. Browne initiated a clinch nearly a minute into the third round, which enabled Beterbiev to land a short, chopping right hand on the inside.
Another right hand by Beterbiev connected with just under 50 seconds on the clock in the third round. Beterbiev’s combination backed Browne into the ropes with about 15 seconds to go in the third round.
Browne flicked his jab and moved away from Beterbiev during the second round. He continued to throw shots at Beterbiev’s body, but not many of those punches landed.
Beterbiev had difficulty landing clean punches in the second round as well.
Browne boxed cautiously for most of the first round, though he did go after Beterbiev’s body as Beterbiev stalked him. Neither fighter landed many flush punches in those three minutes, in part because Browne slipped many of Beterbiev’s hardest shots and spun away from him.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.