Michael Eifert justified the confidence Thursday night that he and his team demonstrated by traveling to Jean Pascal’s adopted hometown to fight the former WBC light heavyweight champion.

The unknown, unproven German contender upset Pascal by unanimous decision in their 12-round IBF light heavyweight elimination match at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. Pascal was a 7-1 favorite according to several sportsbooks, but the disciplined, fit Eifert fought effectively off his jab, often avoided Pascal’s wide, wild swings and out-boxed his 40-year-old opponent.

Judges David Braslow (117-111), Pasquale Procopio (118-110) and Anthony Paolillo (115-113) all scored their fight for Eifert, who went 12 rounds for the first time in his four-year professional career. The 25-year-old Eifert never grew tired, which enabled the younger, fresher fighter to neutralize the powerful Pascal by using his legs and his jab right up until the final bell.

Pascal (36-7-1, 20 KOs, 1 NC) entered the ring ranked third among the IBF’s contenders for one of Russian knockout artist Artur Beterbiev’s three 175-pound championships and hoped to challenge Beterbiev in nearby Montreal, where Beterbiev resides. Germany’s Eifert (12-1, 4 KOs) is ranked fifth by the IBF, but he showed he was ready for a steep step up in opposition against the accomplished Pascal and became the IBF’s mandatory challenger for Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs).

A desperate Pascal tried to catch Eifert with a knockout shot he definitely needed in the 12th round, but Eifert fended him off and occasionally let his hands go in combination during those final three minutes. He knocked a fatigued Pascal off balance and into the ropes with about 40 seconds remaining in their fight and continued to land punches right up until the final bell sounded.

Pascal caught Eifert with a left hook with 45 seconds to go in the 10th round. Pascal also landed a right to the side of Eifert’s head with just under 20 seconds remaining in the 10th round.

Referee Martin Forest sternly warned Eifert for holding and hitting Pascal with approximately 40 seconds to go in the ninth round. Pascal caught Eifert with two right hands late in the ninth round, but Eifert otherwise controlled the action during those three minutes.

A sweeping left hook by Eifert knocked Pascal off balance with just over 30 seconds on the clock in the eighth round. Eifert’s left hook connected with just under 1:15 remaining in the eighth round.

A left-right combination by Eifert stopped Pascal in his tracks with just over 1:50 to go in the eighth round.

Pascal let his hands go to Eifert’s head and body with about 30 seconds on the clock in the seventh round.

Pascal caught Eifert with a right hand from long range almost two minutes into the seventh round. A jab by Eifert backed Pascal into the ropes with just over 1:50 remaining in the seventh round.

Eifert jabbed and moved effectively again in the sixth round, when Pascal pursued him and mostly missed with wide, wild punches. Pascal landed five hard right hands in a row to Eifert’s body toward the end of the sixth round, though.

Pascal’s right landed to the side of Eifert’s head with 1:15 remaining in the fifth round. A left hook by Eifert backed up Pascal with just under 1:50 on the clock in the fifth round.

Eifert’s left hook backed Pascal into the ropes with about a minute to go in the fourth round, which drew a smile from Pascal. Pascal’s left hook knocked Eifert into the ropes barely 30 seconds into the fourth round.

A left hook by Eifert knocked Pascal off balance with just under 35 seconds on the clock in the third round.

Pascal connected with a right hand over the top of Eifert’s guard with just under 1:50 to go in the third round. A more aggressive Pascal put Eifert on his back foot in the third round, but that didn’t last long.

Pascal missed with several right hands from long range during the second round. Eifert remained patient in that round and continued to throw a lot of jabs.

Eifert worked off his jab and came forward for much of the first round. He landed a left hook as Pascal backed into the ropes with 25 seconds to go in the opening round.

Pascal and Eifert were supposed to fight February 9 at Place Bell, but Pascal contracted COVID-19 while training and their eliminator was postponed for five weeks.

Pascal expected to battle Joshua Buatsi in this final elimination match. London’s Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) never signed his contract after Pascal’s promoter, Lou DiBella, won an IBF purse bid, which later caused the IBF to order Pascal-Eifert.

Following a performance-enhancing drug ordeal in 2021, Pascal rejuvenated his career in his prior appearance, when he upset previously unbeaten Chinese contender Meng Fanlong (17-1, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision in their closely contested 12-round match May 20 in Plant City, Florida. Fanlong was the IBF’s number one contender for one of Beterbiev’s titles when Pascal beat him.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.