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Ruslan Chagaev floors Francesco Pianeta in 1st round to keep WBA title

MAGDEBURG, Germany -- Ruslan Chagaev of Uzbekistan defended his WBA heavyweight belt with a first-round technical knockout of Francesco Pianeta on Saturday.

Chagaev dropped Pianeta with two left blows early in the first round, but the Italian-born German got up before the count. Chagaev pushed his advantage and left him on the canvas again with another two lefts, and referee Jean-Louis Legland had no option but to end the bout just before the bell.

The Hamburg-based Chagaev improved to 34-2-1 (21 KOs) with his first defense of the belt he won for the second time by beating American Fres Oquendo for the vacant title in Grozny, Russia, on July 6 last year. Pianeta drops to 31-2-1 (17 KOs).

"My heart is broken. I wasn't careful. ... Congratulations to Chagaev," Pianeta said.

Both fighters previously lost to Wladimir Klitschko, Chagaev in June 2009, and Pianeta in May 2013.