MOSCOW -- Vitaly Klitschko stopped Manuel Charr in the fourth round to retain his WBC world heavyweight title Saturday night.
The 41-year-old Klitschko won by a technical knockout when the bout was stopped by the doctor with 56 seconds left in the round because of Charr's bleeding eyebrow.
It was Klitschko's ninth consecutive successful title defence since beating Samuel Peter in his comeback to the ring in 2008. The Ukrainian improved to 45-2 with his 41 knockout.
The 27-year-old Charr, a German born in Beirut, dropped to 21-1.
Klitschko dominated from the beginning and left little doubt about the outcome.
Charr desperately protested the doctor's decision to stop the fight.
"I'm a bit disappointed because I wanted to win by a real knockout not a technical one," Klitschko said. "I was ready to keep on fighting and Charr also wanted. But it was the doctor's decision and it was his responsibility."
Klitschko praised Charr, saying that he was "a real fighter with a big heart and one day he would become a champion."
Charr said that he "came to Moscow to become a champion."
"Everyone who knows me know that I never give up," Charr told reporters. "Vitaly is a great champion but he didn't win today -- it was the doctor who won the bout. It was not our corner's decision."
Charr asked for a rematch, but Klitschko said that the German had already had his chance.
"I understand your big desire to face Klitschko again, but you know that so many boxers would like do it and if we meet so often we won't give a chance for the others," Klitschko said.
Charr spent most of the first round covering up and offering little offence but managed several punches in the end.
He was mostly on defence in the second round but Klitschko finally knocked him down. Charr got up and stood in the corner. But when the referee counted to three, the bell marked the end of the round.
"I provoked him (Charr) to be more aggressive and he began to make more mistakes," Klitschko said. "This was my tactics."
Midway through the third round Klitschko managed a decisive hook into Charr's face.
Klitschko, who heads an opposition political party called "Udar" (Strike) in Ukraine, said he will have some rest and then announce his future plans.
"I'm facing major tasks and not only in sports," he said. "I'll fly to Kyiv in the morning and will be fully occupied with preparations for the parliamentary elections (in October) as the leader of the party.
"I'm 41 and I'm still boxing, but one cannot trick the nature -- I will have to hang my gloves on a nail soon."