Stevenson stops Karpency in third round to defend WBC title for sixth time

TORONTO — Montreal’s Adonis (Superman) Stevenson successfully defended his WBC light-heavyweight title for the sixth time by stopping American Tommy (Kryptonite) Karpency in the third round Friday night.

Stevenson (27-1-0) wobbled Karpency (25-5-1) with a left to the chin at the end of the second. The challenger got up, with some difficulty, and was saved by the bell.

Stevenson wasted little time putting Karpency down again in the third. Karpency, ranked ninth among WBC contenders, struggled to his feet but Panamanian referee Hector Afu called the fight 21 seconds into the round.

“He tried,” Stevenson said of the challenger. “I respect that.”

The Ricoh Coliseum bout was billed as the first world boxing title fight in Toronto in more than 30 years — Hall of Famer Aaron (The Hawk) Pryor beat local favourite Nicky Furlano for the IBF welterweight title at Varsity Stadium in June 1984.

In the co-main event, former U.S. Olympian Errol (The Truth) Spence Jr. (18-0-0) pummelled South-African-born, American-based welterweight Chris (The Heat) van Heerden (23-2-1) en route to an impressive eight-round TKO.

All four fighters in the main and co-main events were southpaws.

On the undercard, Canadian heavyweight champion Dillon (Big Country) Carman (9-2-0) knocked out 51-year-old Donovan (Razor) Ruddock (40-6-1) in the third round.

Stevenson came out to the theme from “Superman” followed by Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).”

The fighters felt each other out in the first round, with Stevenson landing a couple of solid blows late in the round. Karpency got Stevenson’s attention with a right to the face in the second.

But Stevenson’s power turned the tide.

Stevenson, who turns 38 on Sept. 22, won the belt in just 76 seconds from Chad Dawson in June 2013. His next goal is a unification fight against WBA-IBF title-holder Sergey (Krusher) Kovalev.

The champion came in as a huge favourite. Skybet had Stevenson at 1-100 odds, meaning a $100 win bet on the Canadian returned only $101. A $100 bet on Karpency at 16-1 would have netted you $1,700 had he defied the odds.

At 29, Karpency is the same age as Stevenson when he turned pro. He lost a unanimous decision to Nathan Cleverly for the WBO light-heavyweight title in 2012 but beat Dawson by split decision two fights ago.

Karpency, a former nurse in a hospital psychiatric unit, comes from a fighting family. He is trained by his father, Tom Sr., and brothers Jeremiah and Dan are a combined 16-0.

Spence is ranked No. 8 by the WBA while van Heerden is No. 8 in the IBF ratings.

The 25-year-old Spence punished van Heerden with the jab and then opened up his arsenal. Van Heerden shook his head as if the punches meant nothing but the thud of a glove sinking in his flesh told another story.

The shake-and-bake did not prevent a beating although it did earn a smile from Spence at one point. Between rounds, van Heerden’s corner applied a large icebag to his battered face.

“I knew he was hurt,” Spence said later.  “I just took my time and broke him down.” 

The damage caught up with van Heerden, who was clubbed to one knee twice in the seventh but survived the round. The referee stepped in 50 seconds into the eighth to end the punishment.

Ruddock, who has divided him time between Toronto and Jamaica in the past, did not speak to reporters after his loss.

Carman, a 29-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., making his first title defence, floored Ruddock in the corner with two rights to the head and then clubbed the former world contender to the canvas again after the standing-eight count. 

The fight was called at 2:05 of the third after the six-foot-five 234-pound Carman sent the six-foot-three 242-pound Ruddock backwards to the canvas, with his head snapping back.

It was the first loss after two wins this year for Ruddock, who had previously been inactive since 2001 when he stopped Egerton Marcus in the 10th round to claim the vacant Canadian heavyweight title.

Ruddock went 19 rounds in two losses to Mike Tyson in 1991. He also lost a 1992 bout with Lennox Lewis, who was a co-promoter of Friday’s card.

Prichard (Digget) Colon, a 22-year-old Puerto Rican welterweight, improved to 16-0-0 with a fourth-round knockout of American veteran Vivian (Vicious) Harris. The 37-year-old Harris (32-11-2) held the WBA super-lightweight title from 2002 to 2005 but has now lost eight of his last 12 fights (3-8-1).

Yvon Michel, Montreal’s top promoter, joined forces with Global Legacy Boxing, headed by Lewis and Toronto promoter Les Woods, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to put on the Toronto card.

It aired on U.S. TV as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series, which covered 75 to 80 per cent of the show’s costs. The eight-fight card was available in Canada on pay-per-view.

Michel hopes to stage three or four cards a year in Toronto.

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press