Junior middleweight contender Kanat Islam broke down Brandon Cook Saturday night, stopping the fighter from Canada in round nine before a partisan crowd at the Saryarka Velodrome in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Islam, who is of Kazakh descent and resides in Pahokee, Florida, landed the more-effective punches from the opening round.
Islam (25-0, 20 knockouts) walked Cook down, stunning Cook on several occasions with left hooks to the head, but dropped Cook at the end of the third round with a right cross to the head.
Sensing he was still hurt from the knockdown in the previous round, Islam went on the attack, but landed a few punches below the belt, prompting referee Mikael Cook to deduct a point from Islam. Cook had already warned Islam for low blows.
Cook (18-1, 11 KOs), who resides in Ajax, Ontario, Canada, was game, but could not match his strength with that of Islam. It was evident again when Islam scored another knockdown in round five, this time with a left hook to the head in a corner.
Utilizing a methodical approach, Islam continued to punish Cook during the second half of the fight. At the end of the eighth round, a barrage of punches, culminating with a right cross to the head dropped Cook to the canvas.
Islam went in for the kill early during the following round. After landing a barrage of punches, referee Mikael Rose stepped in and stopped the fight at 23 seconds.
Islam is ranked number two by the WBA and number three by the IBF at 154 pounds.
Welterweight Zhankosh Turarov won a 10 round unanimous decision over Bruno Leonardo Roman (21-5, 18 KOs) of Argentina. All three judges scored the bout 97-93 in favor of Turarov (22-0, 15 KOs).
Francisco A. Salazar has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing