( Reuter )- Samuel Peter of Nigeria stopped Russian Oleg Maskaev in the sixth round, pummeling him with 12 unanswered power punches to force a stoppage and claim the WBC heavyweight title on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Peter improved to 30-1 with 23 knockouts, while the 39-year-old Maskaev dropped to 34-6 when the fight was halted with four seconds left in the sixth.
After five deliberate rounds in which both fighters landed some powerful shots, Peter landed one of his trademark overhand rights to launch a barrage that made Maskaev understand the winner's moniker of "The Nigerian Nightmare."
Maskaev had complained earlier that Peter's chopping rights were unfairly landing on the back of his head, yet once that first heavy right in the sixth caught the Russian the rest of the onslaught was delivered with unerring accuracy.
Peter rattled the Russian with another powerful right and then connected with a crunching left before two more rights sent Maskaev against the ropes.
Measuring his opponent for the finish, Peter landed seven more ferocious bombs before a last right to the face sent Maskaev reeling backward into the corner as the referee waved an end to the bout.
"Who's next? I'm the world champion. Who's next?" Peter shouted from the middle of the ring.
"I'm ready tomorrow. I'm the best heavyweight champion in the world."
The scheduled 12-round fight between Peter and Maskaev had been more than a year in the making with a back injury to the Russian champion holding up the title clash.
Peter was subsequently named interim champion while Maskaev recovered. Saturday's first heavyweight title bout ever staged in Mexico decided who would wear the crown going forward.
While many in the boxing world would like to see Peter in a rematch with IBF and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine, it is his older brother, former world champion Vitali Klitschko , who has the inside track to take on Peter next.
Peter suffered his only defeat in a unanimous decision awarded to Wladimir Klitschko in September 2005, despite knocking the Ukraine down three times in the bout.
In a surprise result earlier on Saturday's card, Nate Campbell upset fellow-American Juan Diaz in a split decision to win the WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles.