LOS ANGELES - Bermane Stiverne claimed the vacant World Boxing Council heavyweight title Saturday, stopping Chris Arreola in the sixth round to return the prestigious title to a North American fighter.
The 35-year-old Stiverne knocked Arreola down twice in the sixth round before referee Jack Reiss stopped the bout at 2:02 of the round, giving Stiverne the victory in the first heavyweight championship bout on American soil since 2009.
Stiverne, a Canadian of Haitian descent, connected with a right cross that sent Arreola to the canvas for the first time early in the round.
Arreola's knees buckled and he stumbled several feet across the ring before he went down.
Later in the round Stiverne knocked the American halfway through the ropes with a left and then finished him off with a barrage of lefts and rights in Arreola's corner that forced Reiss to step in and stop it in front of a crowd of 3,992 at the University of Southern California's Galen Center arena.
It was the second straight win for Stiverne over Arreola as he put on an impressive performance in a rematch of their April 2013 fight.
Stiverne broke Arreola's nose in that one with a similar right cross in the third round.
It has been five years since there was a heavyweight fight on US soil and eight years since the fight capital of Las Vegas has hosted one.
Heavyweight title fights in North America have been rare in recent times because of a lack of serious challengers to the Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir.
Two judges had Arreola winning the fight 48-47 and the third had Stiverne ahead by the same score heading into the sixth.
© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse