MOSCOW — Russia's Grigory Drozd defended his WBC cruiserweight title for the first time Friday, defeating Poland's Lukasz Janik with a ninth-round technical knockout.
Cheered on by a raucous and nationalist home crowd in the Russian capital, Drozd weakened Janik with a succession of body shots before knocking him down in the seventh round.
Janik went into a defensive mode as he tried to last the distance, but the referee stopped the fight in the ninth with the Pole taking a pounding and barely able to defend himself.
"I think it was my biggest fight," Drozd said in televised comments. "I dedicate this victory to all Russians."
Janik was a late replacement for fellow Pole Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, who lost the WBC title to Drozd in September and pulled out of the rematch this month due to an infection.
Drozd moves to a 40-1 record with 28 knockouts. Janik dropped to 28-3 with 15 knockouts.
On the undercard of Friday's bout, Russia's Rakhim Chakhkiev won the vacant IBO cruiserweight title, knocking out the previously unbeaten Junior Anthony Wright of the United States in the eighth round.
There was also a first-round knockout win for former heavyweight world title contender Alexander Povetkin, who stopped Cuban-Irish fighter Mike Perez.