Unbeaten heavyweight Viktor Faust suffers stunning first defeat as single body shot appears to break his ribs and causes him to freeze in fight with Lenier Pero

Heavyweight boxer Viktor Faust suffered the first loss of his boxing career in unusual circumstances on Saturday night.

The Ukrainian, now 11-1, was ahead on the scorecards of his fight with Cuba’s Lenier Pero, who moved to 9-0, until one sudden moment in the eighth round.

Faust appeared to be winning

Amanda Westcott/Showtime

Faust appeared to be winning

The battle of unbeaten heavyweights got off to an intriguing start.

Faust ultimately appeared in command, despite Pero having some success.

The Ukrainian stunned the Cuban at the end of round six, though he was saved by the bell.

Heading into round eight, judge Ruben Carrion had the fight scored 68-65 for Faust and judge Alejandro Rochin had it 67-66, while Tim Cheatham scored 65-68 for Pero. 

In one stunning moment though, all three scorecards were rendered irrelevant.

Pero hammered Faust with a hard right hand to the body which stunned him

Faust turned away and froze, not able to fight anymore.

Pero threw a barrage of punches at his unwilling opponent and the referee jumped in to stop the fight.

Faust gave a bizarre explanation as he said post-fight: “After the sixth round I had pain in my ribs, but I decided to continue the fight.

“The pain increased and did not allow me to compete to my full potential.

Faust suddenly stopped fighting, seemingly due to broken ribs

Amanda Westcott/Showtime

Faust suddenly stopped fighting, seemingly due to broken ribs

“I understood that I was winning and controlling the fight during the bout.

“But after missing a punch in the eighth round, the pain was so unbearable that I could no longer move.”

He was then taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs.

“It was a tough fight,” Pero said.

Pero is targeting Tyson Fury

Amanda Westcott/Showtime

Pero is targeting Tyson Fury

“He’s a great fighter, so I started to build momentum and hit him. Then we finally came ahead in the final round.

“Since the first round, I was trying to find his liver, trying to go to his body.

“His punches weren’t that powerful, so I kept working. Then found that final shot.

“This is pro boxing, and you can’t turn your back on anyone. You can’t turn your back, and I didn’t. I took advantage…

“I’m setting my sights on England. Let’s see if the Brits would like to come to fight Stateside.

“I would welcome them with open arms. I’m talking Tyson Fury, Daniel Dubois. Bring them on!”

He’ll have a bit of a wait for Fury, who is defending his WBC title against WBA, IBF, and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in April.

Meanwhile, Faust will have to rebuild after a stunning first loss.