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    Saturday, April 22, 2006

    Wladimir Klitschko Stops Chris Byrd in Seven 

    In a one-sided beatdown, Wladimir Klitschko stopped Chris Byrd at 41 seconds of the seventh round Saturday in Mannheim, Germany, to capture the IBF heavyweight belt.

    Klitschko, landing huge straight right hands all night, knocked Byrd down and almost out in the fifth round, and continued to batter him. Klitschko opened the seventh aggressively, dropping Byrd, now cut and bleeding around the eyes, again. Byrd arose unsteadily, retreated to the ropes, and referee Wayne Kelly stopped the fight.

    This was a rematch of their fight of October 14, 2000, also in Germany, in which Klitschko won a 12-round unanimous decision after dropping Byrd twice.

    Klitschko is now 46-3 with 41 KOs. Byrd is now 39-3-1 with 20 KOs, and suffered his first loss since that first fight with Klitschko.

    After the fight, which was shown live in the U.S. on HBO, Byrd admitted, “I was never in the fight.” Klitschko said he next wants to add another heavyweight belt to his collection.

    The fight will be rebroadcast on HBO at 10 PM ET/PT Sat. night.

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