By Alexey Sukachev and Per Ake Persson
Germany - WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (38-2-1, 26KOs) won a twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Mirko Larghetti (21-1, 13KOs). The scores were 116-112, 116-112, 118-110. BoxingScene had it 116-112 - also for Huck, although Larghetti, at the same time, has nothing to be ashamed of.
Huck actually scored a knockout, which came a second or two after the final bell.
Huck hurt Larghetti against the ropes in the final seconds of the twelfth round and started unloading hard punches in rapid fashion. Larghetti was laid out bad - but the final punch of that hard combination came literally a second after the bell as the referee jumped in to signal the end of the fight, and because of that the knockout did not count and they went to the cards instead.
Transnational Boxing Rankings Board's #1 cruiserweight Huck, 29, was making the 13th defense of his WBO strap against a relatively unknown but undefeated fighter. On paper, WBO #12 Larghetti (unranked by TBRB as well as by any of independent sources) was what the German champion needed - an overrated aging challenger with sub-par skills and an unblemished record. However, Huck has a history of fighting unbeaten opponents, and this history isn't all covered with roses and filled in vanilla ice-cream. Huck just barely squeaked past Denis Lebedev (21-0) with a split decision in December 2010, just narrowly outpointed Israeli Ran Nakash (26-0) four months later and lost on a controversial decision to Alexander Povetkin (23-0) in his sole voyage to the heavyweight scene a year after.
Larghetti, 31, started mildly as expected, being visibly afraid of an opponent with much more accolades. On the other hand, the champion also didn't look all right, being surprisingly passive and rarely issued his trademark furious combinations. However, Huck was mostly the aggressor, and he did land some punches in the opening rounds. Larghetti re-adjusted to his opponent later on and responded with his power punch after each attack by Huck. But the German also invented something new, winning an unexpected jabbing contest.
What looked more like a fistic chess match has turned to a continuous (albeit not that intensive) shootout in the midst of the contest. Larghetti, while shorter of the two, equaled Huck in reach department, and that allowed him to use his slightly superior speed to land more punches than Huck. The latter was still successful with his jab but he didn't work the Italian's body all that much, which allowed Larghetti to be active and liquid right until the very end. When cornered or stuck on the ropes, the Italian also used bob-an-weave tactics to avoid punishment.
Larghetti fought on even terms with Huch in rounds six and seven, and his dominance was obvious int he next couple of rounds. Heading into championship rounds the fight was mostly even. And it was where Huck made the difference. His aim has gradually improved over the rounds. He started to land more and more punches from round ten, and Larghetti was mostly in retreat in rounds eleven and twelve. The German has also preserved a better face over his swollen and bleeding opponent. His level of confidence rose with each fought minute.
Finally, Huck cornered Larghetti with ten seconds remaining. What happened next is still surrounded with sort of a tiny mystery. What is clear is the fact that the Italian ate a couple of damaging blows and was left completely defenseless. Huck, showing killer instinct, continued to throw bombs at the opponent, who had seemingly lost consciousness. Referee Jack Reiss had seen enough and intervened simultaneously with the final bell, as Larghetti was falling on the canvas at a sad glance of former long-time cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson. Reiss immediately waved the fight off as it looked like Larghetti was seriously hurt. But he did get up for a minute.
A long period of misunderstanding and consultations followed, and finally judges and a supervisor indicated the chilling end came merely a second after the final bell. Scores were tallied and they read: 118-110 (Alfredo Polanco of Mexico) and 116-112 (both Carlos Ortiz and William Reich - from the States) - all for Huck, who improves to 38-2-1, 26 KOs. Larghetti suffers his first career loss and drops down to 21-1, with 13 KOs.
WBA I/C light heavyweight titlist Enrico Koelling (15-0, 5 KOs) was at his dullest against faded Italian veteran Giuseppe Brischetto (12-3, 6 KOs) but witnesses should be thankful to Koelling, as this next stinker-to-come came at end earlier than expected and even with some fireworks, as Brischetto retired on his stool between rounds seven and eight.
WBO #13 rated light heavyweight Koelling, 24, a former German Olympian, boxes well but fails bitterly in the entertainment department. He is steady, methodical and hardly watchable. But against a right opponent his minuses can be nullified, and the 37-year old Italian, who has lost both of his fights to young undefeateds (just like Koelling) was definitely that opponent.
Koelling mixed his jabs with power punches both to the head and body. His tonnage mounted up, and Brischetto started to show signs of fatigue at around the fourth stanza. Koelling slowly made it hard for Giuseppe to resist, then dropped him down with a body punch at the start of the sixth, then repeated this trick early into the seventh, and finally punished Brischetto till the bell. The Italian retired during the break. Scores were: 69-62 (x2) and 68-63 - for Koelling at the time of stoppage.
Super middleweight Vincent Feigenbutz (15-1, 14) blew out overmatched Bosnian Slavisa Simeunovic (14-9) at 2.37 of the very first round. Simeunovic was floored twice and on his way down a third time when Russian referee Yuri Koptsev stopped what was a very one-sided and meaningless fight. While the 19-year old (in September) Feigenbutz can punch it appeared that Simeunovic went down from a nothing much right for the first knockdown and it seemed as every time Vincent threw a punch his opponent was ready to go down. At stake was the WBO I/C interim title and the GBU I/C belt.
Once-touted Russian heavyweight Denis Boytsov (34-1) returned after another long injury related layoff and didn´t impress in his comeback against Timur Musafarov (6-2) and while he won fair enough on scores of 98-91, 95-94 and 97-93 the crowd booed his performance and cheered Musafarov. Boytsov started slowly against an ever smiling opponent and while he did land a good right in the fifth that staggered Musafarov he was also outworked in some rounds. Musafarov, cut on the bridge of the nose and swollen around the eyes, had a point deducted in the seventh after a headbutt but made the fight while Dennis seemed to tire.
Serbian light heavyweight Marko Nikolic (3-0) easily cruised to a wide decision over Hungarian journeyman Peter Hegyes (8-11, 4 KOs), who was no match to Nikolic in a scheduled four-rounder. The Serbian boxer dropped Hegyes at the end of the second but failed to finish him off. He is still looking to secure his first stoppage win.
Little-tested Kosovo native Besar Nimani (18-0, 15 KOs), an ethnic Albanian, has been stalking his vastly inexperienced Hungarian Ferenc Albert (6-3, 3 KOs) for five one-sided rounds but he lacked some finishing touches to get the job done.
Those happened in the fifth round, as Albert ate several hard right hands, was pummeled to the corner, and continued to be punished there by a much more experienced opponent, prompting referee to stop this mismatch at 2:09 of the fifth round.
Swedish heavyweight Otto Wallin (7-0) wore down already worn Ukrainian Maksym Pedyura (14-7-1) for a TKO at 2.50 of the fourth round. Pedyura kept coming in with bull rushes but was picked apart by Wallin, and then hurt to the body from a southpaw left. Maksym lost steam at once, retreated and finally sat down in his own corner and the towel came in. It was scheduled for six.
In the opener of a big Sauerland Event-promoted show at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany, young Russian cruiserweight Murat Gassiev (18-0, 12 KOs) made an impressive step forward by spoiling Leon Harth's previously perfect record within four rounds.
WBC #12 and IBF #14 Gassiev, 20 and originally from Vladikavkaz, Ossetia, took his time to adjust better to fellow Caucasian (Harth is originally from Armenia), six years his senior. He has started to tear the German fighter apart from the third round. Gassiev landed several heavy blows in round three, then increased his intensity and put Harth (9-1, 6 KOs) down two times with multi-punch combinations in the fourth. The brave German Armenian continued to fight on until the third knockdown, which happened to be the last one in the bout. Official time of stoppage was 2:46.