Klitschko makes easy work of Austin, retains IBF heavyweight title

Mar 10, 2007 - 10:50 PM MANNHEIM, Germany (Ticker) -- Ray Austin found out the hard way why Wladimir Klitschko wanted to use his preferred brand of gloves.

Klitschko retained his IBF heavyweight title Saturday, scoring a technical knockout of Austin at 1:23 of the second round at SAP Arena.

The champion's second defense of the belt nearly did not take place due to a dispute Friday over which gloves would be used in the fight. Klitschko preferred Grant gloves, while Austin requested the use of Reyes gloves.

A release from Klitschko's camp indicated the local boxing commission rules state the champion has the right to select the gloves, with both fighters having to wear the same brand.

In the absence of an agreement between the fighters, the champion selects the glove brand, according to the commission's rules.

Klitschko's camp initially rejected the idea of using a coin toss to determine which gloves Austin would wear but had a change of heart Saturday morning. Klitschko won the toss, forcing the challenger to use Grant gloves.

"The decision to have a coin toss to determine the gloves was a good one and we will abide by the result," said Don King, Austin's promoter. "I'm happy to see this dispute was resolved through good sportsmanship rather than dictatorship."

King was not very happy with the result of the fight, however. After a timid opening round, Klitschko (48-3, 43 KOs) landed a series of left hooks midway through the second, sending Austin to the canvas.

The 36-year-old Cleveland native got to his feet but did not beat the count of referee Eddie Cotton, resulting in Austin's first loss in more than five years.

Klitschko, who won the title from Chris Byrd in April and retained it with a TKO against Calvin Brock seven months later, was a bit surprised at the ease of his latest victory.

"I am happy about the win. I hope the crowd is happy, too," the 6-6 Ukrainian said. "It was short, but it was heavyweight boxing."

Austin (24-4-4) lost for the first time since July 20, 2001, when Attila Levin scored a ninth-round TKO. Also 6-6, he had gone 9-0-4 since that loss but had not defeated any formidable opponents and was elevated to mandatory challenger status by the IBF despite extremely questionable credentials.

Even Klitschko did not understand how Austin earned a shot at the crown.

"I didn't choose this fight," Klitschko said. "This is mandatory title defense. ... He was a mandatory challenger."

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