Former IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin 28-2-1 (25) gave his world title ambitions a boost with a sixth-round knockout of Gerald Washington 20-4-1 (13) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
The bout, which took place on the Deontay Wilder versus Tyson Fury undercard, was billed as an IBF eliminator.
“This win means a lot. It shows that I’ve been working hard,” Martin said. “The people can see it. I was never hurt at any point. This has just given me more confidence in myself. I can take the punches and give the punches.”
In the sixth-round southpaw Martin landed an overhand left to Washington’s jaw to send him to the canvas. Although Washington beat the count, referee Tony Weeks determined he wasn’t in a fit state to continue and waved off the fight at the 1:57 mark.
“I knew that I had him hurt a few times in the fight,” Martin said. “Every round I think I hurt him, but I just couldn’t finish him. I knew that I had to take my time in there. It took me some rounds to catch up with him, because he’s very quick on the retreat.”
Washington was magnanimous in defeat.
“The referee did what he thought was right,” Washington said. “He’s a top-notch ref so I won’t complain about the stoppage. He put me down and I got up, so I definitely wanted to get back to it.”
Martin won the vacant IBF title with a third-round knockout win over previously undefeated Vyacheslav Glazkov in January 2016 only to be stopped in two frames by current unified champion Anthony Joshua three months later.
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