LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Vitali Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight title with a 10th round TKO over previously undefeated challenger Cristobal Arreola on Saturday.
Arreola, who was outclassed by the taller and more mobile Ukrainian, did not answer the bell at the start of the 11th round.
The victory was Klitschko’s third since returning to the ring in 2008 following an injury-induced retirement in 2005.
“This fight was much more difficult than it looked for me,” Klitschko told reporters in a ringside interview. “Cristobal is a tough opponent.”
Los Angeles-born Arreola, who was vying to become the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent, sat dejected on his stool when the referee signalled the end of the fight before the start of the 11th round.
He then burst into teats and apologised to his hometown crowd, who had cheered wildly for him throughout the fight.
“I’m sorry guys,” Arreola said. “I just couldn’t get to him; whatever I did he would counteract. He just found a way to win.” The 38-year-old Klitschko outclassed Areola throughout, fighting with his hands at his waist and keeping the 28-year-old at a distance by using his reach advantage to land jabs at will. Arreola was forced to chase the Ukrainian, who then simply used his superior footwork to dance out of any danger and frustrate the challenger, who was bleeding and notably fatigued by the end of the eighth round.
Klitschko, who had last defended his WBC crown in March with a ninth-round TKO of Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez, improved to 38-2, while Arreola slipped to 27-1.