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Ruslan Chagaev stops Francesco Pianeta to retain WBA title

Ruslan Chagaev
Image: Ruslan Chagaev destroyed Francesco Pianeta in the opening round to make a successful first defence of his WBA title

Ruslan Chagaev stopped Francesco Pianeta in the first round to successfully defend his WBA heavyweight title on Saturday.

The Russian floored his fellow southpaw with two quick-fire left hooks with less than 90 seconds gone in Magdeburg.

Pianeta, the German and European heavyweight champion, survived the count but was put down again just before the bell with another left hook on the ropes.

As he struggled to get to his feet, the 30-year-old gave the referee little option but to stop the fight as Pianeta's bid to become Germany's first heavyweight champion since Max Schmeling in 1932 ended in embarrassment.

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Pianeta, who was born in Calabria and moved to Germany aged six, suffered only the second defeat of his career in his 34 professional bouts having previously lost in 2013 on a technical knock-out after being put on the canvas three times by Wladimir Klitschko.

The 37-year-old Uzbekistan-born Chagaev, who has been nicknamed 'White Tyson' first won the WBA world title in 2007 when he beat Russian giant Nikolai Valuev on points, but then lost to Klitschko in 2009 to suffer the first defeat of his career.

Chageav failed in his first bid to regain the WBC title when he lost to Alexander Povetkin in 2011, but he bounced back with five straight wins before outpointing Fres Qquendo to win the vacant strap last July in Grozny, Russia.

Klitschko was promoted to the WBA's 'Super' champion in 2011 and also holds the IBF and WBO titles, while Deontay Wilder is the current WBC holder.

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