WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) has had a hard time getting finishes, but it took an enormous mismatch and a very aggressive approach from “Boo Boo” to get a clear-cut stoppage.
Facing mandatory challenger Luke Keeler (17-3-1, 5 KOs), Andrade made an immediate statement by knocking the Irishman down with the literal first landed punch of the fight. Keeler was sent sprawling seconds in from a left hand. Andrade scored a bigger, more damaging knockdown in the next round; Keeler was badly wobbled after another left hand but survived to see a third round.
From this point on, despite Andrade’s insistence on looking for home run shots, it looked like Andrade was going to go the distance with an overmatched opponent yet again. Keeler was trying, throwing and landing the odd punch, but he was way way way way way out of his depth. In the ninth round, Andrade hurt Keeler with a right hook and swarmed for the stoppage. A three-punch combination had Keeler in terrible shape, and the referee finally showed mercy and said enough was enough.
Official result: Demetrius Andrade def. Artur Akavov by TKO, 2:59 of round 9
Technically speaking, Andrade did TKO Artur Akavov last January, but that was a baffling 12th round stoppage that didn’t seem particularly justifiable. This one was more than appropriate, as Keeler had nothing left and his legs were gone. It’s nevertheless Andrade’s first time ending a fight before the final round since 2015.
Here’s video of the ending.
Andrade called for a 168 lbs bout with WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders. The fight had been booked in 2018 for the middleweight title, only for Saunders to fail a drug test and not get licensed to compete. It’s more than time for him to be in a meaningful bout, whether it’s Saunders or Jermall Charlo.