Yunier Dorticos and Youri Kalenga put on a great fight on Friday in Paris, with Dorticos stopping Kalenga in the 10th round to win the interim WBA cruiserweight title, and move forward in their title tournament.
Dorticos (21-0, 20 KO) was stepping up in class for the first time in this fight, and going in against a tough opponent in Kalenga (22-3, 15 KO), who had the better experience, with a 2014 win over Mateusz Masternak and a competitive loss last year to Denis Lebedev.
But it was Dorticos who took the initiative early, dropping Kalenga in the second round after a flurry of shots, including one really stunning uppercut. The Cuban had his way in the first few rounds, before Kalenga, born in Cameroon and based in France, made a stand and got himself back into the fight in the middle rounds, making a very close fight of it.
Dorticos, 30, lost a point for landing a shot after the bell to end the eighth round, and Kalenga was strong again in the ninth, and was by that point fully threatening to stage a pretty stirring comeback after the early struggles.
Dorticos had other ideas, which probably goes without saying, but leads into my line about him badly hurting Kalenga in the 10th round, and then finishing him off with a final right hand, causing referee Raul Caiz Jr to step in and stop the fight, saving the brave Kalenga from his own toughness.
It's the first stoppage loss of Kalenga's career, and obviously the biggest win on Dorticos' record to date. It's also a fight well worth watching, and it's up on YouTube as of this writing, so go find it.
Here's the WBA's tournament layout as of now:
Lebedev (28-2, 21 KO) faces IBF titleholder Ramirez (22-2-1, 17 KO) later today in Russia, and Shumenov (16-2, 10 KO) takes on Wright (15-1-1, 12 KO) tonight in Las Vegas.