American Michael Grant stopped South Africa's Francois Botha in the 12th round of their heavyweight fight to claim the vacant WBF title Saturday night.
Grant dropped Botha with a right hand with 37 seconds left at Montecasino.
''I knew I had the strength to knock him out in the 12th round,'' Grant said.
The 43-year-old Botha dominated from the start, nearly finishing off the 39-year-old Grant in the seventh and 11th rounds.
Botha charged in on the taller, leaner Grant and was probably ahead on the cards. But Grant rallied right at the end for a dramatic win to improve to 48-4 with 36 knockouts. Botha dropped to 48-6-3 with one no-contest.
Botha also lost his first shot at the vacant minor belt to Evander Holyfield in 2010. Holyfield eventually relinquished it.