By Edward Chaykovsky & Alexey Sukachev
Lanxess-Arena, Cologne, Germany - WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm (36-2, 15KOs) retained his title with a twelve round split decision over a game Matthew Macklin (28-3, 19KOs) in a very exciting fight. Levi Martinez (USA) gave it to the challenger 115-113. He was outscored by Spaniard Jose Ignacio Martinez and Puerto Rican Roberto Ramirez who both awarded it to Sturm with identical scores of 116-112. The referee was Hall-of-Famer Stanley Christodolou of South Africa. Macklin came on very strong and took the fight to the champion in every round. Sturm was forced to suck it up and come back in the second half of the fight to save his title on the scorecards. BoxingScene had it 115-113 for Macklin.
Macklin started with a few body shots, before Sturm picked things up and started with his jab and then went to work. Macklin came back to the body and continued to target the ribcage for most of the three minutes. Macklin came out fast in the second, switching the attack between the body and the head. Sturm started putting some power behind his punches to get Macklin's respect. The third round was a back and forth battle. Macklin was pushing the action and Sturm answered back with combinations of his own at the end.
More action in the fourth, with Sturm landing the harder and crisper punches. Sturm continued to get the better of the inside fight in the fifth but Macklin was doing more work and keeping the tempo going at a very fast rate. Sturm was doing good work in the sixth, with Macklin coming back with a very good combination of punches to send the champion back to the ropes.
They went back on the inside at the start of the seventh round. Macklin slowed down a little and Sturm came on to change the tide. Macklin was going back to the body in the eight but couldn't break the champion's guard to land something upstairs. Sturm was boxing and using the jab to push Macklin away. A close ninth round would follow, with Sturm starting well but Macklin picking it up to end the round.
Sturm using accurate jabs and hooks in the tenth. Macklin starting to tire but always coming forward with combinations. Sturm landed a big uppercut to shake Macklin's head. Macklin and Sturm started trading big punches in the final minute. Sturm landed several more big uppercut and Macklin was shaken up.
Sturm continued to work very hard in the eleventh with hooks to the head and body. A game Macklin continued to throw back with combinations. Sturm covering up and blocking many of the shots, but a good shot opened up a cut above his right eye.
The met in the middle at the start of the twelfth. They were trading good punches. Sturm was getting off first and Macklin was returning fire with both hands. Sturm landing better but Macklin throwing more to make it close. In the final ten seconds, Sturm put together his best combination of punches in the entire fight to get Macklin in trouble.
Charismatic but also too robotic and too plodding German/Lebanese heavyweight Manuel Charr (18-0, 10 KOs) failed to live up to any expectations in his controversial and unspectacular seventh round stoppage of glass-shot former world title challenger Danny Williams (43-10, 33 KOs), 37. Charr, 26, who was severely cut near his right eye, was too strained and too mechanical to deliver one punishing blow. He was significantly helped by the referee who stepped in to put a halt to the fight after just a couple of barely meaning blows in the seventh round. Not a nice win for Charr.
Other results from the undercard of Felix Sturm vs. Matthew Macklin Super WBA middleweight championship:
Mike Keta (10-1, 9 KOs) TKO 2 Goekhan Kaya (0-6)
Adnan Redzovic (4-0, 1 KOs) UD 6 Werner Kreiskott (10-17-1, 7 KOs)
Nadia Raoui (12-1-1, 3 KOs) UD 6 Evgenija Zablotskaya (3-6, 1 KO)
Tigran Mkrstchan (1-0, no KOs) UD 4 Roman Antziferov (0-1). Scores 39-37 (thrice)
Manuel Faisst (4-0, 3 KOs) TKO 2 Torsten Roos (1-7, no KOs)