Kubrat Pulev remained on course for a shot at the world title with victory over Tony Thompson
Kubrat Pulev beat Tony Thompson on points to move a step closer to a world title shot at Wladimir Klitschko.
Last Updated: 25/08/13 4:18pm
In what was billed as a final eliminator for the IBF belt, Pulev gradually out-worked the veteran to take the decision on all three scorecards in Schwerin, Germany.
The Bulgarian, now 18-0, allowed the American to take the early rounds but was on top by the fifth in a rough fight often fought at close quarters.
Thompson, riding the crest of a wave after two stoppage wins over David Price this year, looked weary after a strong ninth round from his opponent and Pulev finished the fight by far the stronger.
Scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112 reflected Pulev's superiority, and he could now be in line to fight Klitschko early next year should the Ukrainian overcome Alexander Povetkin in October.
Thompson, 41, slips to 38-3 but once again proved to be a useful barometer in the heavyweight division.
On the undercard, Arthur Abraham got back to winning ways after he stoppage loss to Robert Stieglitz by beating journeyman Willbeforce Shihepo on points, while Juergen Braehmer beat Stefano Abatangelo over 12 rounds to retain his European light-heavyweight title.