ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- It lacked the lowbrow comedy of their first fight, but heavyweight title contender Riddick Bowe, of Fort Washington, Md., made good on his promise of "controlled anger" at Convention Hall last night in stopping trialhorse Elijah Tillery, of Albany, N.Y., at 1 minute, 14 seconds of the fourth round of their scheduled 10-round bout.
Tillery surrendered meekly after taking a standing eight count from referee Joe O'Neill.
Bowe, ranked No. 2 by the World Boxing Council, raised his record to 28-0, with 24 knockouts. Tillery slipped to 23-6, with 15 KOs.
Their first meeting in Washington two months ago ended in controversy after Tillery was disqualified by referee Karl Milligan for flagrant fouling after repeatedly kicking Bowe at the end of the first round.
That was only the start of a near-riot as Bowe's manager-promoter, Rock Newman, applied a headlock and flipped Tillery out of the ring.
All the parties were subsequently fined and Tillery was suspended by the Washington Boxing Commission. But somehow the suspension was overlooked by the New Jersey Commission, needing an opponent for Bowe on the TVKO pay-per-view card topped by the middleweight championship bout between James Toney and Mike McCallum.
"I knew he'd run," said Bowe. "All I had to do was take my time and stay relaxed and I'd get him.
"Before the fourth round, my corner told me to pick up the pace until my hands hurt, and that ended it."
Bowe looked slightly flabby at 230, having a seven-pound advantage over the shorter Tillery.
The first round was a feeling out process for both fighters, who relied mostly on flicking jabs. It was hardly reminiscent of the wild one-round fiasco in their first encounter.
Bowe continued to stalk Tillery in the second round and finally trapped him on the ropes. But no real damage was done. When Bowe landed an uppercut just before the bell, he got a long stare from Tillery, but the referee quickly separated them.
Tillery decided to slug it out with Bowe to start the third round and landed a solid hook. Bowe dominated the rest of the round, but his punches lacked steam and speed.
But a booming right cross by Bowe early in the fourth sent Tillery's head speeding. He quickly followed with a half dozen telling blows, the last a jarring uppercut.
When Tillery offered no resistance, the referee gave him a standing eight count. It did not help Tillery, who indicated he had no desire to continue.
Newman stepped up his campaign for a Bowe match with heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.
"I think everything Holyfield brings to the dance, Riddick brings as much or more of. Bert Cooper's fight with Evander last month only bolstered our confidence that Riddick Bowe will become heavyweight champion."
In the meantime, Bowe will try to stay busy. He has two fights remaining on the three-bout deal he recently signed with TVKO worth a reported $2 million.
Former lightweight champion Livingston Bramble once made an art of confusing people to the point of owning a dog named "Snake" and a snake named "Dog."
But last night it was Bramble who was thoroughly confused by the clever style of junior welterweight contender Charles "The Natural" Murray of Newark, N.J.
Two of the judges backed Murray, 99-91, and the third voted, 98-92.
Ranked No. 4 by the International Boxing Federation, Murray (23-1, 15 KOs) , used his lightning jab, quick combinations, jolting uppercuts and right hand leads to befuddle Bramble (31-8-2), trying to get back in the title picture after losing his lightweight crown to Edward Rosario five years ago.