LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bermane Stiverne stopped Chris Arreola in the sixth round Saturday night to claim the WBC heavyweight title vacated by Vitali Klitschko.
Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) dropped Arreola twice in the sixth, and the Haitian-born fighter was punishing Arreola again when referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight with 39 seconds left in the round.
The Klitschko brothers had held every major heavyweight title for the past six years. Vitali’s retirement into Ukrainian politics in December opened the WBC belt for the 35-year-old Stiverne, a late bloomer who has won 13 consecutive fights.
Stiverne dropped Arreola (36-4) first with a sweeping right hand to Arreola’s left temple, sending Arreola wobbling and crashing to the canvas.
Arreola rose and kept fighting, but Stiverne put him headfirst into the ropes with another combination.