INDIANAPOLIS — Marvin Johnson of Indianapolis won his record third light-heavyweight title Sunday when he stopped a bloodied Leslie Stewart in the seventh round of their World Boxing Assn. title bout.
Referee Franco Priani of Italy halted the bout at 56 seconds of the round, with Stewart bleeding heavily from cuts near both eyes after an relentless attack from start to finish. Priani had stopped the action a round earlier to allow a ring doctor to examine Stewart.
Johnson, 31, became the first fighter to rule the 175-pound division three times. He previously held the WBA and World Boxing Council titles at 175-pounds and lost each in his first defense. It was the first loss in 19 bouts for Stewart, a native of Trinidad.
Johnson stormed out of his corner at the start, opening a cut on the outside of Stewart's left eye in the opening round.
"I was surprised when I connected well with my left hand early," Johnson said. "I didn't go out looking for a quick knockout but after connecting in the first round, I continued to try to end it early."
With 8,173 at Market Square Arena watching, the 24-year-old Stewart began counterpunching effectively midway through the opening round.
Johnson seemed to tire midway through the third round, but the southpaw resumed his attack in the fourth round, forcing the issue with an assortment of jabs and hard lefts.
"There were times I thought I had command, but I let up for some reason," Stewart said. "I caught him with some good shots, but I just wasn't forceful enough."
Stewart weighed 175 and Johnson was 174. Johnson, who has won 15 straight, is 42-5 with 34 knockouts.