Beterbiev leaves it late to win IBF title

Artur Beterbiev claimed the vacant IBF light heavyweight world title, despite leaving it until the last minute against Enrico Koelling.

Two knockdowns before the bell in the 12th and final round saw Beterbiev succeed Andre Ward as the IBF champion after the American’s decision to retire in September.

Beterbiev had been the more aggressive fighter in the early stages and tried to use his power to push Koelling back.

German fighter Koelling was happy to defend and let Beterbiev make the running.

Beterbiev won round after round, with Koelling offering little in the way of resistance, although by lasting until the eighth, he became the first opponent to go that deep into a contest against the Russian.

With the crowd unhappy with the lack of action, it wasn’t until the 11th and 12th rounds that the pace began to pick up.

Beterbiev landed a series of heavy shots to put Koelling completely on the back foot.

Koelling went down onto one knee in the final minute of the 12th round and then soon went down for a second time, before the referee called a halt to proceedings.