By Alexey Sukachev
GETEC Arena, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany - In one of greatest comeback stories in the last few years, former IBF middleweight and WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham (39-4, 28 KOs) turned back time and showed the best of his former self, winning a grudge, rubbermatch against reigning WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz (46-4, 26 KOs) to win his title back. Judge Michael Pernick saw it 113-112 - for Stieglitz, but he was overruled by Paul Thomas (115-110) and Clark Sammartino (114-111) to punctuate Abraham's split decision victory. BoxingScene had it the same as Sammartino in a fight, which saw two point deductions and a late knockdown for the newly crowned champ.
This was the third fight between the two. Abraham interrupted Stieglitz's three-year long reign in August 2012 with a close unanimous decision. Half a year later, Stieglitz blitzed Abraham in four - mostly due to a horribly swollen eye on Abraham, who was unable to continue. WBO #1 was 2-0 since then but hardly impressed anybody in point wins over Willbeforce Shihepo and Giovanni De Carolis.
The challenger looked much different to his usual self. Known for his shell-like defense and short, fierce offensive bursts, Abraham was calm and moved much more than usually, preferring defensive moves over offensive action. That didn't help him much early on, as Stieglitz took the first round. Abraham did better in the second and in the third, finally finding some room for his crisp jabs. Stieglitz was also slightly hurt midst into the second with a right hand by the challenger. He did better in the next couple of rounds though, evening the scores. Both fighters battled dirty, with the champion taking the lead in that category.
Abraham dug deep and prevailed in the next two rounds after Robert's latest surge. His punches were well felt by the champion, while Stieglitz was able to pin Abraham to the ropes a couple of times but not to hurt him. The eighth was totally different. It was a good round for the champion, while Abraham was also penalized one point for hitting on the break. Stieglitz had his comeuppance one round later, when referee Gino Rodriguez took a point from him for continuous holding. Yet, the WBO titlist got the edge in the tenth.
It was obvious the fight would be decisioned in the championship rounds. And Abraham was one to explode. He had a nice round ten. His offensive bursts got less frequent but his power was enough to wilt Stieglitz a couple of times in the eleventh. Stieglitz was visibly tired coming into the twelfth but managed to land several punches of note before the challenger got back to work. Abraham landed several damaging blows, and finally put Stieglitz down. The champion was clearly hurt but managed to last until the final bell.