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STUTTGART - Vitali Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight crown by defeating Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez on a technical knockout in the ninth round on Saturday.
Klitschko, who retired in 2005 after a series of injuries before reclaiming the WBC title in October by beating Samuel Peter, had to work hard to beat the bloodied Gomez.
"I knew Gomez very well and knew this was not going to be easy," said Klitschko in a post-match address.
"After the sixth I became bit impatient but I knew he did not have much fuel after that."
The 37-year-old Ukrainian, 10cm taller than his opponent, who is 35, began cautiously in the first few rounds but gradually went on the attack to the delight of some 12500 spectators in Stuttgart's sold-out Schleyer Hall.
Klitschko's (36-2) blows to head left Gomez with a cut above his right eye in the fourth round and as his eye closed, he began having problems blocking Klitschko's powerful right.
Gomez (44-1) went down on his knees in the seventh after Klitschko, who went into the fight with a record of 35 knockouts, landed a big right. The Cuban then took a barrage of punches but somehow managed to stay on his feet.
Gomez lasted two more rounds before Klitschko sent him to the ropes with a series of left jabs and the referee stopped the fight with one minute and 49 seconds left in the round.
"Now I want the one title that evades the Klitschko family," said Vitaly, referring to the WBA heavyweight title held by Russian Nikolai Valuev. - Reuters