By Alexey Sukachev
Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland - Cecilia Braekhus (19-0, 5 KOs), "The First Lady" of European boxing, delivered all her goods in front of a Finnish crowd and stopped Hawaiian Kuulei Kuphea (7-2, 2 KOs) with a minute and three seconds remaining in the tenth and final round. Braekhus, the Colombia-born, Norway-based and Germany-trained bombshell, showed sound, "male" technique combined with physical prowess and incredible stamina as she dominated every second of every round with her left-right combinations, hard jabs and ring generalship.
Kuhipea tried hard but she was no match for the Norse lady. As the rounds went by the American fighter started to lose her energy and completely emptied her gas tank before the championship rounds. With her being almost defenseless and eating one punch after another, Belgian referee Daniel Vad de Wiele saw enough and waved the bout off with approximately one minute remaining.
With this fine victory, Braekhus retained her WBA, WBC and WBO welterweight titles. More importantly, she has further supported a general claim of being the only viable challenge for French knockout machine Anne-Sophie Mathis, who recently destroyed American Holly Holm in frightening fashion. Braekhus is definitely not as powerful as Mathis but she seems to be a better technician and she also proves to be rather durable against world class opponents.
In a very uneventful and dull heavyweight encounter, Finnish fighter Jarno Rosberg (12-0, 4 KOs, 1 NC), 30, got an easy win over Argentinean 40-year old veteran Mariano Alberto Pucheta (35-8, 28 KOs). 6'5'' southpaw Rosberg was content to pump his lazy jab into Pucheta's face, while the latter did more clowning than actual boxing. Scores were 80-73 (twice) and 78-74 - for Pucheta. More reasonable is the last scorecard.
Heavyweight Edmund Gerber (18-0, 12 KOs), 23, got tagged with a lazy jab from American trialhorse Marcus McGee (23-19, 12 KOs) before firing a left hook in return, which landed exactly on McGee's face. The American went down for the full count; with the entire fight taking just 18 seconds and two landed punches. Gerber is in serious need of stiffer challenges.
Finland-based Albanian lightweight Edis Tatli continued his unbeaten run and improved to 16-0, with 3 KOs, after a convincing victory over former Italian national champion Pasquale Di Silvio (13-4, 3 KOs). The guest fighter tried hard but lacked power and, more importantly, boxing skills to deliver problems to the lanky southpaw Tatli. The Albanian, on the other hand, was better in every technical department and used his crisp right jab to pepper Di Silvio time and again. However, he lacked both power and killer instinct to trouble the Italian even when he rocked him slightly. There were surely no knockdowns but interestingly, the lights in the arena turned off during the third round, which resulted in a three-minute delay. Scores were unanimous: 100-90, 100-92 and 98-93 - for Edis Tatli. BoxingScene had it 99-91 - also for the local boy.
In a bout between two light-hitting welterweights, 27-year old local boy Jussi Koivula (10-0, 3 KOs) got the better of Spanish national champion Jose Del Rio (12-3, 4 KOs), 26, over four hard-working and not entirely thrilling rounds. Koivula was the aggressor and he also landed bigger punches but the Spaniard defended himself well, although he wasn't active enough to get many points for his doings. Scores were: 80-72 (twice) and 78-75 - for Koivula. BoxingScene had it 79-74 - also for the Finn.
It took Sauerland Event's newbie and former amateur star Jack Culcay Keth (10-0, 6 KOs) just 48 seconds to completely demolish bitterly overmatched Italian Giammario Grasselini (19-6-2, 10 KOs). The Italian fighter got destroyed with a terrific left hand to the liver. Equador-born Keth, a 2009 Milano world champion, fought for the second time for the German powerhouse since departing from their perennial rival Universum Box-Promotions. Grasselini, 34, was able to raise himself up only a couple of minutes after the painful kayo.
Rising Swedish light heavyweight talent Erik Skoglund (7-0, 3 KOs) shut out Moroccan Amine Belali (3-2, 1 KO), 34, over four easy rounds. Scores were unanimous for 20-year old Swede: 40-36 - on all the judges' scorecards.