Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin, Monte Carlo - There was a 66-pound weight difference, United States Olympian Michael Hunter (16-1, 11 KOs) scored two knockdowns before stopping Alexander Ustinov (34-3, 25 KOs) in the ninth round. Ustinov had veteran trainer John David Jackson in his corner.
With the win, Hunter captures the vacant WBA International heavyweight title. Hunter had taken the fight with only two weeks notice.
Ustinov returns from a twelve round decision loss to Manuel Charr in November 2017, in a battle for the vacant WBA "regular" world title.
Hunter won three in a row since losing a twelve round decision to Oleksandr Usyk in April of 2017. Hunter won a big shocker in October, when he traveled to the UK to score a knockout of undefeated prospect Martin Bakole.
Hunter was landing solid punches on Ustinov in the early rounds. Ustinov was not bothered by any of the shots and kept pressing forward. He was leaning on Hunter and using his weight as a tactic to tire out the much smaller man.
In the fourth, Hunter was really letting his hands to go to get away from Ustinov's holding and mauling on the inside. Ustinov was really not very active and having issues, despite the size disparity.
Ustinov appeared to get rattled in the seventh after Hunter landed several hard shots to the head and body.
In the eight, Hunter landed several hard hooks to drop Ustinov down to the mat. Ustinov was also cut on the forehead and he was badly hurt right at the bell when Hunter caught him with a big left hand.
In the ninth, Hunter put down Ustinov for the second time in the fight with a big left hand. He was seriously hurt and the fight was waved off when Ustinov's corner threw in the towel.