FRANKFURT, Germany – Wladimir Klitschko kept this one from going to the scorecards.
Five years after he was knocked down three times in a tough victory over Samuel Peter, the IBF and WBO champion battered and bloodied the Nigerian challenger before finally stopping him with 1:22 left in the 10th round of another dominating performance.
Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) unleashed a flurry of blows to send Peter to the canvas, an uppercut and left hook doing the final bit of damage. Referee Robert Byrd began counting but then waved his hands to call the fight over.
"He took a lot of punishment and fought until the end," Klitschko said. "But from round two, it was clear that his game plan wasn't working."
Peter (34-4) at least showed up to fight, which is more than can be said for most opponents who stand across from Klitschko these days. And it's more than can be said for mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, who backed out of the fight after it had been agreed upon.
Klitschko has won his last 13 fights, only twice going the distance and both times winning by a landslide on the scorecards. He's stamped himself as perhaps the most dominant heavyweight of his generation — with the exception of perhaps his brother Vitali, the WBC champion who will be in the ring next month against Shannon Briggs.
The problem is the two Klitschko brothers will almost certainly never fight, depriving the sport of a matchup between the two best heavyweights — long boxing's biggest glamour division.
Peter stood at least a puncher's chance against the younger Klitschko, especially after his performance five years ago. He hoped to get close and try to hurt Klitschko from inside, but the champion weathered the early attempts and the challenger tired in the later rounds.
Peter came out aggressively and connected with a left hook to Klitschko's head before the champion replied with a good right late in the opening round. Klitschko caught Peter with right-left combinations several times in the second and the "Nigerian Nightmare" had no response except for some wild roundhouse attempts.
Both fighters spent much of the third and fourth holding each other, and Klitschko managed to keep away with from the surging Peter in the fifth, hitting the Nigerian with several jabs that seemed to worsen the swelling under Peter's eye.
A big uppercut from Klitschko late in the sixth appeared to shake Peter, but the bell came to his rescue. Klitschko began hitting Peter almost at will in the seventh and again in the eighth, landing combinations to the Nigerian's head.
The shorter Peter tried to come inside but ended up mostly clinging onto Klitschko as both fighters pushed each other around the ring in the ninth.