FEARSOME Russian light-heavyweight Artur Beterbiev won the IBF world title, vacated by Andre Ward. He halted Enrico Koelling in the 12th and last round on Saturday at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno.

Beterbiev has had time out after shoulder surgery and had to contend with an awkward opponent, unwilling to engage. But he eventually caught up with him to end it in the final round. Beterbiev, a perfect 12-0 (12), is now a world champion.

“He only wanted to survive and I really wanted that KO at the end,” Beterbiev said. “This is what I have dreamed of my whole life. I am so happy.”

Koelling reflected, “He’s a monster. He’s relentless. He keeps throwing punches and he finished me off. He’s a guy nobody wants to fight, and I took the fight.”

Artur Beterbiev

The hometown favourite in Fresno, Jose Ramirez knocked out Mike Reed in two rounds, dropping him in the second round and attacking Reed on the ropes to force a stoppage.