ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner stopped Gavin Rees in the fifth round on Saturday to defend his title and remain undefeated.
The American scored two knockdowns in the bout and took command with a powerful left hook to the body that forced Rees to take a knee in the fifth.
The Welshman got to his feet, but Broner (26-0, 22 Kos) landed a series of body shots and combinations that drove Rees into a corner and prompted his trainer, Gary Lockett, to wave a white towel. Referee Earl Brown halted the fight at 2 minutes, 59 seconds into the round.
“He kept coming and threw every shot like it was his best shot,” Broner said. “I knew he would be tough. He's tougher than a steak that's well-done.”
Broner controlled most of the bout, but Rees didn't back down. The 32-year-old wasn't fazed by Broner's antics and continually pressed forward. At times, he even did a little clowning himself, which drew some cheers from the fans.
“I wanted to (stop the fight) after four rounds, but Gavin said no way he was quitting,” Lockett said. “I also considered stopping it after the third, but Gavin is too proud.”
Broner scored his first knockdown in the fourth, catching Rees with one of his trademark right uppercuts that sent the Welshman to the canvas. Rees got up and endured a savage beating along the ropes just before the bell sounded to end the round.
“I'm disappointed in my performance,” Rees said. “I made a lot of mistakes. I have a better skill set than that. He hits incredibly hard for a lightweight. I knew he hit hard, but the power just stunned me.
“But I disagree with my trainer stopping it. I was always going to get back up. I was going to get keep getting up until I got knocked out cold.”
In the co-feature, Australian super-middleweight Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs) earned another shot at unified champion Andre Ward (20-0, 16 KOs) by earning a 12-round, unanimous decision over Montenegro's Nikola Sjekloca (25-1, 7 KOs). Ward beat Bika via decision three years ago.
“I had a great plan and worked hard,” Bika said. “He was undefeated and came to fight. It was a great opportunity for me. Now I want to fight all the great fighters - Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, all of them.” – Sapa-AP