Bryant Jennings (24-2, 14 KOs) put himself back into contention in an incredibly competitive heavyweight division with a ninth-round TKO stoppage of Alexander Dimitrenko (41-4, 26 KOs) on Saturday in the main event of an ESPN card at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
Jennings had spent the past couple of years working his way back up the ladder after suffering back-to-back losses to Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz in 2015. After taking 18 months off, Jennings began his trek with four consecutive victories. The 6-7 Dimitrenko stood in his way for a future title opportunity; the Philadelphia fighter knocked down that door in emphatic fashion.
ORTEGA: Jennings vs. Dimitrenko signals return of big-time boxing in Atlantic City
The fight started relatively slowly. Jennings was trying to find his range with his jab while also figuring out how to work his way inside. The Ukrainian didn’t offer much in return, something that has been a problem for much of his career.
Just as Jennings was finding his stride, Dimitrenko clobbered him with a right hand that sent him down in the fourth round. Unfortunately for Dimitrenko, his lack of urgency eventually spelled his demise as Jennings remained the busier fighter in the middle rounds and made the proper adjustments to compensate for what he lacked in height.
Jennings sent Dimitrenko down in the eighth round with a left hook that landed squarely on the forehead and forced the giant to take a knee. Jennings attempted to close the show and dropped Dimitrenko again with a flurry of punches, but Dimitrenko managed to escape the round.
Still, it was clear that Jennings was in the driver’s seat. He did close the show in the ninth with a devastating right uppercut. The stoppage may have been a bit premature as Dimitrenko immediately rose to his feet in protest, but it was clear that the end was coming sooner than later.
The victory sets up Jennings for a big fight and allows him to jockey for position in a division that has suddenly become one of the best in boxing.
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