Any questions about Artur Beterbiev’s surgically repaired right shoulder were answered pretty quickly in his return against Ezequiel Maderna.
The Russian 175-pound contender floored Maderna twice in the third round Saturday night, and followed up with two more in the following frame to gain a fourth-round TKO at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
After establishing his jab over the first two rounds as he stalked Maderna around the ring, Beterbiev flashed his power toward the end of Round 3. The Montreal-based Russian landed a right hand against Maderna, who was competing above 168 pounds for the first time since December 2010, and knocked the Argentine to the canvas late in the round.
Beterbiev, 31, then fired another short right that dropped Maderna, who spit out his mouthpiece after both knockdowns and had a point deducted by referee Marlon Wright.
“After the first round, I saw that there were a lot of openings in his defense,” Beterbiev said. “I read his movements, worked my jab and found an easy path for my right hand."
It was more of the same in the opening seconds of the fourth as Artur Beterbiev (10-0, 10 KOs) floored Ezequiel Maderna, who had never been stopped in his career. Maderna (23-3, 15 KOs) reluctantly got up, but was soon knocked down again.
This time, the 29-year-old Argentine sat on the canvas and looked to his corner to stop the fight. Wright obliged Maderna’s request, ending the bout at the 56-second mark of the round.
After having surgery in October, Beterbiev was pleased with how his shoulder held up in his first fight since his seventh-round TKO of Alexander Johnson last June.
“My shoulder had been bothering me for two years, but now after the surgery, I felt 100 percent,” Beterbiev said. “I felt like I had increased speed and increased punching power, and my shoulder felt stronger than ever.”
Beterbiev paid tribute after his victory to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who died Friday at the age of 74.
“Muhammad Ali is my favorite boxer, and I do think that he was the greatest of all time,” Beterbiev said. “I tried not to think about it, but I felt very sad when I heard about his death last night. I tried to focus on my fight, but I did try to honor him at the same time.”
In other bouts, Bryant Perrella (14-0, 13 KOs) gained a second-round TKO of David Grayton (14-1, 10 KOs) in a matchup of 147-pound southpaws, and 154-pound prospect Jamontay Clark (10-0, 6 KOs) overcame an early knockdown and earned a six-round unanimous decision over Edgar Ortega (16-6, 10 KOs).
For a complete look at Beterbiev vs Maderna, visit our fight page.