By Alexey Sukachev
Hamburg, Germany - European [EBU] heavyweight champion Alexander Dimitrenko (32-1, 21 KOs) retained his title with a twelve round unanimous decision over British veteran Michael Sprott (36-17, 17 KOs) at the Dima Sport Center. Dimitrenko used his long arms and his 6'7 frame to control the distance for much of the action. Sprott was penalized for roughhouse tactics in the tenth and twelfth rounds. The scores were 119-108, 117-111 and 116-111.
BoxingScene scored the fight much closer, 114-113, for Dimitrenko. It was expected before the fight, that 36-year-old Sprott, who barely fought over four rounds in over a year-and-a-half, would be a target practice for the towering champion.
Indeed, the WBO #2, WBC #3, WBA #7 and IBF #9 ranked heavyweight began this clash in style, keeping the British boxer at the very end of his frequent and fairly potent jab. Dimitrenko tried to emaluate both Vitali Klitschko and Muhammad Ali - two of the division's greatest fighters - but to little effect. However, by circling around the ring on his toes, the Ukrainian avoided dangerous exchanges with a hard-hitting opponent and he also tricked Sprott into a lottery without any winning combinations.
Sprott steadily sustained damage to his body but kept his composure and tried to land something big throughout the entire fight. It was hardly seen at the start but it got obvious later on, especially in the second part of the fight, when Dimitrenko started to rapidly run out of gas. Sensing the fight is possibly in his hands, Sprott started to swing wildly and also added some roughhouse tactics to his usual strategy.
Sprott was winging wildly enough to connect frequently, with some of his bombs leaving marks on Dimitrenko's face and almost closing his right eye by the end of the fight.
The Brit was also pushing his opponent a lot and applied some dirty tricks. Referee Massimo Barrovecchio of Italy penalized Sprott for hitting after the bell in the very beginning of round eleven, and he also deducted a point from Sprott in the twelfth stanza for pushing his opponent to the ground.
The last deduction looked questionable as were several of the warnings that Barrovecchio issued to the challenger, and it even seemed that Barrovecchio was trying to aid the champion by creating unnecessary delays during championship rounds when Sprott was especially dangerous..