By Alexey Sukachev
Fighting for the first time before his devoted fans and compatriots, WBO #12 heavyweight Christian Hammer (13-3, 9 KOs) retained his WBO European belt after his opponent Alexey Mazikin (18-9-2, 4 KOs) retired in his corner in the conclusion of the sixth round.
38-year old Mazikin started fast and soon landed several blows to Hammer. The Romanian sustained the pressure in the opening rounds and started to earn points after the slow start. The Romanian didn't do anything special but he was resilient, tough and determined with local crowd - effectively re-charging his batteries. Meanwhile, Mazikin rapidly lost his steam and soon found his gas tank almost empty. The Ukrainian (and a former Olympian for Ukraine) started to eat more and more leather. He wasn't hurt but he just seemed to have no energy whatsoever to raise his hands. In the sixth round, he danced a bit in front of Hammer at the very end of the round, then, after the bell, just surrendered in his corner, making this particular win not so sweet for his opponent.
Highly ranked cruiserweight contender and former amateur star Alexander Alekseev (24-2-1, 20 KOs) took his final step towards his first shot at a full-fledged world championship with a hard-fought twelve-round unanimous decision over American Garrett Wilson (13-6-1, 7 KOs) in an IBF final eliminator. The IBF cruiserweight champion is the Germany-based Cuban Yoan Pablo Hernandez.
Alekseev has had an illustrious career at the unpaid ranks, taking part in the 2004 Athens Olympics and winning the 2005 Mianyang World Championship. However, his pro run turned into a disaster for his fans after Alekseev suffered crushing defeats to Victor Ramirez and Denis Lebedev in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
On the other hand, Wilson had almost no amateur background at all, having fought just 13 times. He took the hard road to worldwide recognition, winning some and losing some before finally finding his groove over the last couple of years. There were no questions asked about Wilson's skills (they are sub-par at the elite level) and his character (which is hardly breakable at all). There were questions asked about the Russian's chin and his psychological readiness. An interesting fact was that Alekseev had previously lost in devestating fashion to fighters similar to Wilson. However, Wilson isn't a southpaw, like Lebedev, and doesn't possess the same type of firepower as the Argentinean.
WBO #2, IBF #4 and WBA #9 Alekseev wasn't looking for a fast opener, relying solely on his jab. His jab wasn't a howitzer-like front hand punch (like that of Wladimir Klitschko) but it was more of a measuring stick. Alekseev used it to find his distance against the much shorter, stockier and explosive Wilson. Alekseev didn't risk anything at all, trying to get away from any heated exchanges. IBF #3 Wilson showed the characteristics of a true North Philly fighter, patiently looking for his chance and never stopping his efforts to find one. He found some of them in the third round, his most successful in the fight. However, Alekseev wisely danced out of the fire and sticked to his game plan once again. He moved around Wilson, used jab and hard left uppercut (specifically in the later rounds) to frustrate the American. Wilson was unable to cope with Alekseev's subtle movements. He fell twice in the fight due to his overly large momentum and was often fooled by the taller man. Both fighters experienced severe problems with a slippery canvas.
Both fighters gave their best in the twelfth round, and the American was the better of the two, but it was too late to turn back time. At the end, all three judges had it for the Russian: 116-112, 117-111 and 118-112. BoxingScene had it 118-110 - also for Alekseev.
What started as a two-way encounter, between two Near Eastern fighters, ended in disaster, when Turk Yakup Saglam (28-2, 25 KOs) retired on the stool after the second round of his fight with the former WBC world title challenger Manuel Charr (23-1, 13 KOs), citing a left shoulder injury. There wasn't much of a fight from the WBC #8 Charr before that. The Lebanese boxer spent the larger part of the first round doing his share of showboating, ate several haymakers and didn't give anything back. The first half of the second round was quite similar, and Charr began to show his better skills during the second minute of the stanza. Both fighters exchanged wild blows, and Saglam didn't look any worse than his famed rival.
Manuel Charr retained his WBC Silver International heavyweight title in process. Saglam was fighting for the first time in nearly two years past his last bout.
A bout is won on shots, not muscles. The old axiom has more proof of that, as soft-bellied and visibly out-of-shape Romanian Guilian Ilie overcame determined Hungarian Peter Erdos in an eight-round cruiserweight affair.
Being stronger and more muscular of the two didn't help Erdos much. His shots were wide and he missed often, while Ilie (19-6-2, 5 KOs) used his better basics to frustrate the Hungarian time and again. Ilie didn't have power to rock Erdos and lacked stamina to put him in danger but he did increase his offensive output in the midst of the fight to punctuate a clear victory. Erdos wasn't hurt at any time, there were no knockdowns and/or point deductions, and both combatants fought to the end. The unanimous decision was awarded to the Romanian fighter (score were also announced in Romanian). Erdos drops down to 6-3-1, with 3 KOs.
In a battle between a blonde and a brunette, Swedish (the blonde) Klara Svensson moved to 7-0, 1 KO, with an uneventful victory over Bulgarian (the brunette) Kremena Petkova (7-5-1, 1 KO). Svensson used her jab to create the distance between her and her opponent and carefully stalked Petkova around the ring for ten rounds. The Bulgarian ate several big shots in rounds eight and nine but was never in danger of beig chopped down. At the end, all three judges awarded the fight to Svensson: 100-90 and 99-91 (twice). The Swede acquired a vacant WBC Silver Female light welterweight title.