CLEVELAND – Sergei Liakhovich won the WBO heavyweight championship in his first fight in 18 months, unanimously outpointing Lamon Brewster on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Brewster, considered the more powerful puncher, instead absorbed a pounding at the hands of the taller fighter from Belarus in the 12-round bout.
After taking a left to the ribs late in the final round, Liakhovich dropped his hands and signaled for Brewster to come after him. The champion tried his best, but by then his punches had run out of steam.
Liakhovich (23-1, 14 KOs) did serious damage in the sixth, ninth and 11th rounds, but Brewster (33-3, 29 KOs) lived up to his “Relentless” nickname by withstanding the pounding that left welts across his face.
Brewster had successfully defended his title three times after winning it in April 2004 with a fifth-round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko.
This time, the 6-foot-1, 228-pounder had trouble with his bigger foe, although he knocked the 29-year-old to his knees as the seventh round ended.