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Klitschko Defends Heavyweight Title with Knockout Win in Stuttgart

World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko defended his title in Stuttgart, Germany, with a ninth-round technical knockout win over Cuban exile Juan Carlos Gomez.

Ukrainian boxer Vitali Klitschko, left, punches Juan Carlos Gomez from Cuba, right, in a WBC heavyweight world championship fight in Stuttgart, Germany, late Saturday, March 21, 2009

Klitschko and Gomez are former sparring partners

Gomez began struggling against the defending WBC champion in the sixth round, but it wasn't until one minute 49 seconds into the ninth round that Klitschko took him out.

The fight on Saturday, March 21, was the Ukrainian-born fighter's 36th knockout and 37th victory.

"He was a hard opponent, I have known him for a long time," said Klitschko of Gomez, his former sparring partner. "I was a bit hectic against him; he frustrated me with his blocks."

After having lost the WBC heavyweight title to Lennox Lewis, Klitschko won it back last October against Samuel Peter in Berlin.

For Gomez, a former WBC cruiserweight champion who now lives in Hamburg, it was the second defeat of his career. He was seeking to become the world's first heavyweight champion from Cuba.

Klitschko, 37, pounded Gomez with several blows to the body and head, leaving the Cuban with a cut above his right eye in the fourth round.

In the seventh, the 35-year-old went down on his knees, but then managed to stay on his feet under a barrage of punches from Klitschko.

A series of left jabs sent Gomez to the ropes in the ninth round, before the referee stopped the fight to spare him further punishment.

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