Dejan Zlaticanin proved that he's a legitimate contender in a wide-open lightweight division tonight, dropping and stopping undefeated prospect Ivan Redkach in round four on Showtime Extreme, earning a shot at WBC titleholder Jorge Linares sometime in the near future.
The official time of the stoppage was 1:24 of round four, coming after Redkach (18-1, 14 KO) was dropped for the first time in his career, then finished off by a very aggressive Zlaticanin (21-0, 14 KO), who pushed Redkach back into the corner and threw shots with both hands to force the referee to step in.
Zlaticanin, 31, had been best known for a June 2014 win over Ricky Burns in Scotland, when he was chosen as a comeback foe for Burns. The little-known Montenegro southpaw signed with Al Haymon recently, and was finally able to score a fight that was befitting someone who had made such a solid statement a year ago.
Redkach, 29, had been pushed a bit on ShoBox in his recent fights, but looked pretty overwhelmed by Zlaticanin's aggression and solid shots in the first round. Redkach, trained by Robert Garcia, did step up his game a bit in the second, and was winning the third round before he was drilled by a low blow and then wobbled on an accidental clash of heads.
Whether or not that played a role in Redkach getting stopped early in round four is anyone's guess, but it was pretty clear throughout the fight that Zlaticanin was the harder puncher, and his fast start may have thrown Redkach off his game right from the get-go.
So who do you like in a potential Linares-Zlaticanin fight, and were you impressed with this win?