Trailing on two of the judges’ scorecards, Cuban heavyweight Lenier Peró stunned Ukraine’s Viktor Faust with a hard right to the body followed with a left hand that rendered Faust defenseless and out on his feet in the eighth round.
Peró pounced on Faust and landed several more unanswered punches, causing referee Rafael Ramos to stop the heavyweight contest at 2:28 of the eighth round of the scheduled 10-round bout to hand Faust the first loss of his career as Peró remained undefeated.
It was a stunning turn of events, as Faust was controlling the action with his long jab and hard, thudding right hands until the final moments. Faust, who out-landed his opponent 389-183 in total punches, according to CompuBox, hurt Peró with a sweeping counter left to end the third round that stunned Peró and caused him to do a little dance in the corner with his legs, before he was saved by the bell.
While he was absorbing the heavier shots, Peró remained committed to Faust’s body, landing 51 body shots throughout the bout, even as he fought off his back foot and Faust continuously advanced toward him.
It all came to a head in the eighth round when Peró caught Faust with a right to the body and left to the head that hurt him so badly he stopped fighting and turned his back on his opponent.
“After the 6th round, I had pain in my ribs, but I decided to continue the fight,” said Faust. “The pain increased and did not allow me to compete to my full potential.
“I understood that during the bout I was winning and controlling the fight, but after missing a punch in the 8th round, the pain was so unbearable that I could no longer move. As a result, I won on points, but the injury gave the victory to my opponent!”
Peró, who has faced Oleksander Usyk and has multiple victories over countryman Frank Sanchez in the amateurs, finished off Faust to improve to 9-0 with 5 KOs as Faust dropped to 11-1 with 7 KOs. Faust has now lost to both Peró brothers as Faust was also defeated by his younger brother Dainier in the amateurs.
“It was a very difficult fight,” Peró said in the ring afterward. “He’s a great fighter, so I started to build up momentum and started to hit him and then we finally came ahead in the final round. Since the first round, I was trying to find his liver, trying to go to his body. His punches weren’t that powerful, so I kept working and then found that final shot. This is pro boxing, and you can’t turn your back on anyone. You can’t turn your back, and I didn’t and I took advantage.
“I’m setting my sights on England, actually. Let’s see if the Brits would like to come fight Stateside. I would welcome them with open arms. I’m talking Tyson Fury, Dubois…bring them on!”