By Jake Donovan
Cruiserweight titlist Krzysztof Wlodarczyk defeated Danny Green in hostile territory, scoring an 11th round stoppage in their title fight main event Wednesday at Challenge Stadium in Mt. Claremont, Australia.
Wlodarczyk was fighting for the first time since an accidental overdose on sleeping pills in July. Stories surrounding the Polish cruiserweight suggested the end of his career and a fight for his life, but rumors of lying on his potential death bed were greatly exaggerated as he was released less than a day later and back in training.
Soon to follow were successful negotiations for this fight, which served as the third successful defense of the alphabet title he acquired in a rematch win over Giacobe Fragemoni last May.
The fight itself was not nearly as spirited, or celebrated by the crowd on hand. Both fighters came out cautious to begin, and the action never really picked up at any point until the sudden ending.
Green attempted to press at several points in the evening, including a big fifth round which saw the Aussie land several right hands that momentarily had Wlodarczyk in trouble.
The sequence was shortlived, with apparent fatigue already kicking in. Green twice lost his mouthpiece in a sixth round that was otherwise uneventful. Most of the rest of the fight saw Wlodarczyk control the tempo and the distance between the two.
Referee Michael Griffin was forced to work much harder than anticipated, with an increasing number of clinches between the combatants as the fight went deeper. Green was limited to fighting in spurts in the later rounds due to a busted nose that compromised his breathing, while Wlodarczyk was content to fight at the leisurely pace offered.
Everything changed in one fell swoop late in the 11th round, when Wlodarczyk connected with an overhand right to freeze Green along the ropes. A follow-up left hook landed flush to produce the bout’s lone knockdown and ultimately the end of the fight.
“I was the bigger puncher of the two, and knew I had to end the fight,” Wlodarczyk insisted afterward, although he seemed in control for much of the fight. “It was a great fight, he’s a very tough guy.”
Green showed his mettle in bravely rising to his feet in his best effort to beat the count. Referee Michael Griffin reached nine, but looked into the eyes of the 38-year old and saw a man who had enough, waving off the fight without another punch being thrown.
The official time was 2:15 of the 11th round.
Wlodarczyk improves to 46-2-1 (33KO), as he is now unbeaten in his last 10 contests. The win is just his fourth outside of his native Poland (4-1-1 everywhere else in the world), having previously been held to a controversial draw against Fragemoni in Italy before gaining revenge in his home country a year later.
Despite his lack of success on the road, the 30-year old defending champ enjoyed his experience Down Under.
“I was a fantastic feeling to come here to Australia. It was less pressure on me because I know I could box him and not get robbed.”
While the win was conclusive and emphatic, it didn’t come without its share of trouble.
“I had some problems in the fifth round, but didn’t want to show Green or the referee that I was hurt,”Wlodarczyk later admitted. “I fought accordingly and did what was necessary to win the fight.”
Green, quite frankly, did not do what was necessary. But perhaps at 38 and having traveled more than 30 lbs. in weight throughout his 10-year career, the game has simply caught up to the outspoken veteran.
The loss is his second straight as he tumbles to 31-5 (27KO). Green was given a shot at the title despite falling way short in his last fight, a ninth round stoppage at the hands of faded former light heavyweight king Antonio Tarver earlier this summer.
To his credit, Green recognizes that his best years are behind him, though the popular Aussie stopped short of delivering a retirement speech at fight’s end.
“One thing about me, if I have to lose, I’m going out on my shield. I was up against a warrior. We worked so hard but I was up against the best cruiserweight in the world. We put on a great show. I had an amazing career, I don’t know what I’m going to do from here. All I know was I was 4 ½ minutes away from going 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world in my weight division.”
Unbeaten Indonesian veteran Chris John pushed past the eight year mark in the sport's current longest title reign with a unanimous decision over Stanyslav Merdov of Russia. Scores were 116-111 (twice) and 115-112. Full report can be found by clicking here
Unbeaten Sydney native Will Tomlinson (18-0, 12KO) endured a stiff test from visiting Mexican challenger Alan Herrera (26-4, 17KO) en route to a 12-round decision in their regional title fight.
Scores were 118-111, 117-111 and 116-112
The fight was a brutal back-and-forth slugfest, but Tomlinson was forced to contend with cuts over both eyes for most of the second half of the fight. Blood was flowing both ways, as Herrera suffered a busted nose and a cut over his right eye in the later rounds.
Herrera was the aggressor for most of the bout, but Tomlinson bounced back strong late in the fight to preserve victory. The Sydney native enjoyed a huge 10th round, repeatedly scoring with right hands upstairs that saw Herrera back up for the first time in the fight. Action slowed in the championship rounds, which served to Tomlinson’s benefit.
Daud Cino Yordan (28-2, 22KO) scored two knockdowns en route to a fourth-round stoppage of Frankie Archuleta (27-9-1, 14KO) in a featherweight bout.
Matt Gartlet (7-1, 4KO) scored an opening round knockdown but was forced to go the distance in settling for a unanimous decision over winless Justin Medoro (0-4-2, 0KO) in their six round super featherweight bout.
Local cruiserweight Anthony McCracken (14-5-1, 5KO) tested the heavyweight waters for just the second time in his career, picking up a fourth-round knockout over journeyman Shane Tilyard (5-6, 5KO).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]