Heavyweight prospect Vladyslav Sirenko overcame a shaky start to batter Pavlo Krolenko, stopping him in round 5 Saturday night in his hometown of Kiev, Ukraine.
With the victory, Sirenko improves to 14-0, 13 knockouts.
The fight headlined a card promoted by former undisputed cruiserweight champion and now heavyweight contender Oleksandr Usyk, who arrived by helicopter from his training camp to sit at ringside.
Sirenko, who now trains in Karlsruhe, Germany, last fought on October 11, stopping Ivan De Berardino in the opening round. Entering Saturday’s fight, Sirenko had stopped 10 opponents within the first round.
Krolenko shocked the near-sellout crowd by stunning Sirenko during the opening round. Undaunted, Sirenko slowly battered Krolenko, hammering him with hooks and crosses to the head.
The 25-year-old’s punches took their toll on Krolenko, dropping him in round 4. While Krolenko got up and bravely fought back, he took more punishment, but it was an injury to his left hand in round 5 that forced referee Viktor Fesechko to stop the fight.
Sirenko is managed by Maxim Michailew.
Krolenko, who resides in Kharkiv, Ukraine, drops to 3-6, 2 KOs.
Three more fighters managed by Michailew also triumphed Saturday night.
Super middleweight Petro Ivanov defeated veteran Roman Shkarupa (28-11-2, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision over eight rounds. Score were not announced as Ivanov improved to 12-0-2, 7 KOs.
Heavyweight Heavyweight Oleksandr Zakhozhyi (13-0, 10 KOs) defeated Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko (7-7-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Scores were 77-75, 77-75, and 78-74 in favor of Zakhozhyi, who improves to 14-0, 10 KOs.
The shorter Dovbyshchenko tried to get on the inside of Zakhozhyi’s reach, occasional landing an occasional hook or cross to the head. Zakhozhyi landed the more-telling punches as Dovbyshchenko was exhausted during the final two rounds.
Dovbyshchenko, who resides in Kharkiv, Ukraine, drops to 7-7-1, 4 KOs.
Middleweight Andrii Velikovskyi improved to 17-2-1, 11 KOs by stopping Ruslan Shchelev (16-17-1, 9 KOs) during the fifth round.
Hard-hitting cruiserweight Stanislav Kutin (9-2, 8 KOs) battered Vadym Kostiuchok before the fight was stopped in round 5. Kostiuchok (1-3-1) was getting hammered before his corner threw in the towel to save him from taking more punishment.
Junior welterweight Zoravor Petrosyan defeated Eduard Merinets (4-12-2, 2 KOs) by unanimous decision over six rounds to improve to 8-0, 3 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing