The British challenger put up an incredible effort, yet it proved not to be enough against the Russian champion
Artur Beterbiev stopped valiant British challenger Callum Johnson in the fourth round to retain his IBF light-heavyweight title on Saturday night, live on talkSPORT.
The pair exchanged knockdowns in what was a thrilling encounter, with the Russian champion ultimately emerging victorious to keep hold of his world crown.
The bout began with Johnson storming straight onto the front foot and fearlessly trading punches with the dangerous Russian.
It proved to be a naive tactic as, although the Brit backed Beterbiev up in the first, he was then knocked down with a big right hand 30 seconds before the bell.
The 33-year-old made it to his feet and survived to the end of the round, but had already received a warning of his opponent’s much-lauded power early on.
Despite this, Callum Johnson appeared not to have learned his lesson in the second, as he once again stood in the centre of the ring and exchanged heavy artillery.
However, this time he pummelled home a stunning left hook which put the Russian ruler down for just the second time in his professional career.
With the tables turned, Artur Beterbiev entered survival mode and was relieved to make it through to the end of the session.
The third saw Callum Johnson cut as both men hurled power shots for yet another three minutes, though this of course couldn’t go on for much longer.
A Beterbiev right hook ended proceedings in the fourth, as the champion retained his world title by putting the challenger down with a temple shot which scrambled his senses and left him unable to make the count.
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Post-fight, Artur Beterbiev declared in broken English: “I hit him first round, second round he hit me!
“This is boxing, it’s an experience for me in my career. I’m happy.
“I’m happy for that fight, I won by KO, it’s good I think so, no?
“It’s boxing everyone can [be knocked down]. It’s important that I win.”
Earlier in the night, Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell came up short in his own world title attempt.
The Brit was stopped in the tenth round by WBA super-bantamweight champion, Daniel Roman.