By Alexey Sukachev
EWS Arena, Goeppingen, Germany - In a very important cruiserweight match-up, the younger and fresher Alexander Alekseev (23-2-1, 20 KOs) barely retained his European title with a majority draw against comebacking former world champion Firat Arslan (32-5-2, 21 KOs) in a very grueling fight.
The start was all for Alekseev, whose power was well felt by the 41-year old Turkish pride of Germany. WBC #14 Arslan, who held the WBA title in 2007-2008, wilted under the power but later on, in the middle rounds, he established a proper range and started to connect to Alekseev with painful left hooks to the body and right uppercuts. WBO #3, WBC #5 and WBA/IBF #5 Russian struggled to score and was hit a lot. Only when the clock started ticking did he re-invent his sharp jab and showed superior power and activity in the closing rounds of an even fight.
Judges Manuel Javier Palomo and Arno Pokrandt both had it 114-114 - a draw, while Juergen Langos preferred Alekseev - 116-113. WBO I/C title thus remained vacant.
Local hero Goekalp Oezekler (13-1, 6 KOs) got a contoversial hometown decision over tough and durable France-based Tunisian Moez Fhima (21-2-1, 8 KOs) to retain his WBC Mediterranean middleweight title. The fight was fought in spurts and mostly on the inside, where stronger Fhima looked to be considerably better. However, the judges didn't praise his efforts and awarded the split decision to the Turk. scores were: 115-114, 115-113 - for Oezekler, and 112-116 - for Fhima.