Philadelphia heavyweight Bryant Jennings overcame a fourth-round knockdown to stop Alexander Dimitrenko in the ninth round of a rugged heavyweight bout Saturday night at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City.
The 257-pound Dimitrenko's size advantage showed in the early round, as he held off Jennings, 225, with long jabs. It looked like the Germany-based Russian was on his way to a quick win when he floored Jennings with a thudding right hand to the ear in the fourth round.
Jennings (24-2, 14 KOs) launched his comeback in the fifth, getting inside Dimitrenko's reach and whacking away with both hands to the body and head. He continued to land well the rest of the fight, especially with his left hook.
Dimitrenko (41-3, 26 KOs) began to tire as Jennings continued to punish him with sharp punches. Every time the Russian began to rally back, Jennings took the play away with combinations that prompted his opponent to grab and hold.
Jennings, 33, floored his weary adversary in the eighth with a left hook, then again with a flurry of punches. Dimitrenko, 36, beat the count both times but didn't have much left.
In the ninth, Jennings caught Dimitrenko with a wicked right uppercut that ended the fight. Referee Allen Huggins immediately jumped in and waved both arms in the air, stopping what had turned into a rout at the 1:52 mark.
"I was prepared for a tough 12 rounds," Jennings said. "I did what I had to do. I was in great shape. He's a big dude. He's not as slow as I thought. I made adjustments, and I got the job done."
The win was Jennings' fifth since he was knocked out by Luis Ortiz in December 2015. He didn't fight in 2016 but has gradually worked his way back into the heavyweight picture.
Prior to the Ortiz loss, Jennings had given a very good account of himself in a title fight with then-heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in April 2015 but lost a 12-round decision.
"I'm going to stay in shape," Jennings said. "I'm ready for a big fight, a title fight."