Viktor Faust survived a major scare to register his most rewarding win to date.
Unfortunately, it came at the expense of a controversial stoppage in an otherwise heavyweight barnburner. Faust survived two knockdowns to score three of his own, the last of which left Iago Kiladze at the mercy of referee Samuel Burgos as the fight was waved off at 1:44 of round two.
Faust was down in rounds one and two, though twice flooring Kiladze in the opening round and again midway through round two. Kiladze beat the count on the fifth and final knockdown of the fight and appeared fit to continue, only for Burgos to decide the fight was done Saturday evening on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Faust (9-0, 7KOs) for the second straight time in the United States, though having a far easier time in his third-round knockout of Mike Marshall last October 9 in Las Vegas. The 29-year-old Ukrainian appeared on his way to another one-sided affair on Saturday, sending Kiladze to the canvas courtesy of a right hand and left hook barely 45 seconds into the fight.
Kiladze not only pushed past the sequence but recovered to the point of catching Faust with a straight right hand. Faust staggered across the length of the ring before falling into the ropes and the canvas. The tide was turned mere seconds later as Kiladze was back on the canvas in a wild opening round.
Faust was rocked and dropped by a right hand less than a minute into round two. The 29-year-old beat the count but now had blood streaming along his face from a cut over his left eye. Kiladze moved in to close the show, landing a left hook only to catch one in return. Faust landed two more left hooks followed by a right hand to send Kiladze down for the bout’s fifth knockdown.
Then things got interesting.
Kiladze made it to his feet and nodded when Burgos asked if he could continue. However, Kiladze stepped slowly to his right when asked to come forward, prompting the third man to stop the fight. The Georgian heavyweight was livid, to the point of throwing a soft right hand in the direction of Burgos’ chin, triggering a ‘What the fuck are you doing? Fight’s over!” response from the referee.
Kiladze—the lightest fighter on the all-heavyweight PPV at 216.6 pounds—falls to 27-6-1 (19KOs), having now lost five of his last seven starts.
Faust advances to 9-0 (7KOs) with the win.
The Fox Sports PPV show is headlined by top-rated contender Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27KOs) and former IBF titlist Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25KOs) in an IBF title eliminator.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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