Marseille:Wladimir Sidorenko of Ukraine retained his WBA bantamweight title by knocking out challenger Jerome Arnould of France in the seventh round on Friday.
Sidorenko won every round and floored Arnould in the fifth and seventh at the Palais des Sports de Marseille. The second knockdown proved decisive as the Frenchman could not get up, and Arnould suffered his third defeat in 18 fights.
"It's OK, I'm only 22 and I was fighting for the world title," Arnould told Canal Plus television. "I'm proud that I managed to hang in there with him."
Following his fifth title defense, Sidorenko remains undefeated with a record of 20-0-2 and seven knockouts. It was his first fight since drawing with Panama's Ricardo Cordoba for the second time in March.
Sidorenko pinned Arnould on the ropes in the opening three rounds and rocked him with a right-left combination on the jaw in the fourth.
Sidorenko dropped Arnould in the fifth round with another right to the jaw, but the French boxer got up on the eight count.
In the sixth, Sidorenko's quick hands became a blur as Arnould struggled to fend off the flurry.
Arnould responded gamely by catching the Ukrainian with uppercuts, but they left him open to more punishment.
In the seventh, one right hook from Sidorenko twisted Arnould's head back. Soon after, he was felled for a second time with the same punch.