Secondary middleweight beltholder Rob Brant scored an 11th-round stoppage to hand Khasan Baysangurov his first professional defeat Friday night in an ESPN-televised main event at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota.
It was a homecoming for Brant (25-1, 17 KO's), who grew up just an hour away in St. Paul.
Brant knocked down Baysangurov in the 11th round and subsequently went for the kill, badly hurting the challenger with a crisp right hook before referee Mark Nelson waved off the contest at one minute, 42 seconds.
"Today, I feel like a true champion," Brant said. "I was happy with my performance. I had some cramps later in the fight, but this shows I can carry my power later in fights."
Brant got off to a quick start, establishing his presence by overwhelming Baysangurov with his speed and power.
In the second round, Brant knocked down Baysangurov with an overhand right, and never ceased control of the fight.
Although the 21-year-old Baysangurov (17-1, 7 KO's) was undefeated coming into the fight, his resume was mostly padded with journeymen and had never faced an elite 160-pound pugilist. The Russian was simply not in Brant's league.
"Middleweight is one of the deepest divisions in boxing," said Brant, who defended the WBA "regular" middleweight title for the first time. "There are fights to be made. We just have to keep pushing forward. Canelo Alvarez is recognized by many as the champion at middleweight, and I'd love a fight with him down the road."