HAMBURG — Wladimir Klitschko knocked out the previously unbeaten Kubrat Pulev in the fifth round to retain his four heavyweight belts on Saturday. Klitschko sent the Bulgarian flying back with a huge left punch to his jaw, leaving him sprawled on the canvas and giving referee Tony Weeks no option but to end the bout.
Klitschko, taller with a longer reach, dominated from the start and had the IBF’s mandatory challenger down twice in the opening round. Klitschko dropped him to the canvas again in the third, which Pulev did well to finish with a bloody left eye. Just when the challenger seemed to be improving, Klitschko finished the bout abruptly, 2 minutes, 11 seconds into the fifth.
Klitschko recorded his 54th knockout in 63 wins, with three defeats, and he dedicated his latest victory to the Ukrainian people, “who are going through tough times.”
Pulev, who dropped to 20-1 (11 KOs), said Klitschko was “lucky” and used dirty tricks during the contest.
“Wladimir is a really good opponent, but he was lucky. I want a rematch. I’ll win the next time,” Pulev said. “There’s luck in boxing. He’s a good boxer but he’s unsportsmanlike. There were a lot of tricks.”