Bektemir Melikuziev overpowered Alantez Fox on Saturday night.
The aggressive, strong southpaw dropped and stopped the taller American veteran late in the fourth round of their 10-round super middleweight match at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Referee Allen Huggins halted the action at 2:44 of the fourth round because Fox was taking too many flush punches from the dangerous Melikuziev (13-1, 10 KOs).
Fox, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, dropped to 28-5-1 (13 KOs, 1 NC). He has lost three straight fights and was beaten inside the distance for the third time in 13 years as a pro.
Uzbekistan’s Melikuziev, 27, has won six fights in a row since Gabe Rosado upset him by third-round knockout in June 2021 at the University of Texas-El Paso’s Don Haskins Center. Melikuziev avenged that defeat to Rosado in the 10-round bout before he defeated Fox, which Melikuziev won by unanimous decision April 22 on the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Fox went down to one knee with 1:10 to go in the fourth round, after taking a left hook to the body. Fox beat Huggins’ count, but Melikuziev resumed his onslaught as soon as the action resumed.
Fox landed a couple of right hands during their continuous exchange toward the end of the fourth round. Huggins still stepped between them while Fox was on his feet to prevent him from taking more punishment.
Melikuziev’s left to Fox’s body and an immediate left to Fox’s head made Fox retreat 50 seconds into the fourth round.
Fox took Melikuziev’s power better in the third round than in the previous two rounds until Melikuziev caught him with a straight left when there were about 15 seconds to go in it. A cut opened over Melikuziev’s right eye earlier in the third round.
Fox held Melikuziev tightly again after Melikuziev blasted him with a right hook that connected with about 40 seconds to go in the second round.
Melikuziev drilled Fox with a left hand that knocked him backward with just under 1:40 on the clock in the second round. Another left hand by Melikuziev made Fox hold him slightly less than 40 seconds into the second round.
Melikuziev’s sweeping left hand rocked Fox a little more than a minute into the opening round. A right hand up top by Melikuziev buzzed Fox barely 15 seconds into the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.