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Robert Stieglitz Punishes Weber, Mikkel Kessler is Next

By Alexey Sukachev

Baden-Arena, Offenburg, Germany - WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz (41-2, 23KOs) dominated previously undefeated Henry Weber (15-1, 3KOs) over twelve one-sided rounds. The scores were 118-110, 116-112 and 119-109. Stieglitz is now on his way to a tough bout with former champion Mikkel Kessler (44-2, 33KOs) on April 14th at Parken in Coppenhagen, Denmark.

Weber, the WBO's #14 ranked fighter, whose best win was a split decision over faded Croatian veteran Stjepan Bozic, started fast and with honorable determination. He was punching less than Stieglitz in the opening stanza but his punches came with more zeal and landed flusher than those of the champion. Stieglitz tried some wicked uppercuts (but they failed) and landed some serious series. However, this round could have been scored in favor of the challenger.

Stieglitz got much better in the second with his crisp jab and a lead right hand. In the third, Stieglitz continued to land one punch after another but they only hardened Weber's will and not his pale skin, which became red as he was getting more and more tense. Getting accustomed to a steady stream of punishment, Weber lost his fear which helped him to fight on even terms with the WBO master in the fourth. The German champion was eating way too many punches which was good enough against feather-fisted Weber, but it certainly could be fatal against a major league puncher like Kessler or Carl Froch.

Stieglitz dominated Weber with his activity in the fifth, and the sixth stanza was also his despite a good minute two for the challenger, when he landed several hard uppercuts to the chin of the champion. Stieglitz was landing more and his combinations came in bunches. He was also teh dirtier of the two, not forgetting to use his elbows and to punch behind the back of the head. Rounds seven through nine were relatively identical: Stieglitz retained his tempo, and Weber stood his ground in spite of the hard leather he was eating at all times. In the tenth and specifically in the eleventh rounds, referee Andre Van Grootenbruel of Belgium looked carefully at Weber but the young challenger didn't wilt under fire and ate his share of punishment with valor. Stieglitz was close to stopping him at the ropes but failed.

After twelve rounds of action, judge Zoltan Enyedi (Hungery) was out of touch with reality with his very close score of 116-112. German Ingo Barrabas had a realistic 118-110 and Puerto Rican Jose Roberto Torres saw it 119-109, same as BoxingScene. 30-year old Stieglitz showed his usual physical prowess and conditioning but also displayed pitiful lapses in his defense and his relatively weak punch. He defended his WBO belt for the fifth straight time, which he captured in August 2009.

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WBO/IBF #13 heavyweight Kubrat Pulev improved his official record to 15-0, with 7 KOs, after British veteran and former European fringe contender Michael Sprott (36-18, 17 KOs) retired on his stool after the ninth round of their encounter, possibly due to an injured shoulder. Pulev retained his IBF International belt in this dreadful and unispiring fight.

The bout between former amateur star of Bulgaria and former Commonwealth and British champion was fought in a measured pace from the first round. Pulev jabbed his way out of the pre-planned brawl, and inconsistent Sprott was unable to tag him with his wacky shots from the outside. Pulev, 30, didn't apply his punching power either, just being glad to stick his jab one after another into Sprott's face. The third round was won by Pulev on his front hand alone.

The mid rounds were unimpressive. Pulev tried some haymakers but they were either not strong enough to wobble Sprott or the Brit's defense was too solid for them to penetrate. However, Sprott was rapidly losing his stamina. He tried to make up his lack of vigour with some showboating but did little except to force referee Earl Morton into active mode to calmly warn him for his behavior. In rounds eight and nine, Pulev's consistent punishment accumulated enough for Sprott to visibly fade uner fire. In round nine, the British fighter ate some hard punches, including some right hands and looked a beaten fighter. He surrendered in his corner almost immediately after that. Sprott falls down, but Pulev didn't impress as well.

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WBO #10 ranked light heavyweight Dustin Dirks (23-0, 17 KOs) continued his winning streak by breaking down tough but limited British boxer Sam Couzens (8-7, 2 KOs) in four rounds. Dirks punched on seemingly even terms with the Brit in the opening stanza but his blows were much harder, and the blood soon started to stream down from the nose of Couzens. In the second, Couzens tried hard and both him and his opponent did some mutual damage to each other. However, in the third, Dirks connected with a bigger amount of hard and sharp punches. In the fourth stanza, the German contender connected with a barrage of hard shots, which put the Englishman down on his knee. Couzens tried to put a fallen mouthpiece back to his mouth, then to beat the count and he even succeeded... But not for long, as Dirks continued his fusilade and easily finished the British fighter off at 1:26 of the stanza. Another impressive performance of the talented German, who is still only 22 years of age.

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German super featherweight queen Ramona Kuehne (19-1, 6KOs) confirmed her stellar status with a convincing eight-round stoppage of Hungarian lady Renata Domsodi, and also retained her WBF, WBO and WIBF 130lb titles in the process. Domsodi (now 7-2, with 3 KOs), 32, debuted last year and didn't score a single worthy win throughout her short career. Kuehne, 31, with an enormous advantage in skills and experience, held titles in three different weight divisions and was an overwhelming favorite in this particular fight.

The German champion easily overpowered her foe with constant punching and crisp and hard combinations. The difference in punching power was telling, as Hungarian's slaps didn't distort any of Kuehne's facial features, while the champion's power led to considerable damage for the challenger. Kuehne methodically broke her opponent down and finally cut her over her left cheek with a hard blow in the beginning of the eighth. Domsodi looked totally disorganized after that and soon went down on an accumulation of punches. Referee Ingo Barrabas waved the fight off almost immediately after that. Official time of stoppage was 1:44 of the eighth round.

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In the starting bout of the show, Marcos Nader (14-0, 2 KOs) from Austria turned in his usual performance, easily dominating incapable Ugandan import Farouk Daku (13-4, 7 KOs) to a unanimous decision over eight one-sided and very boring rounds. Southpaw Daku, who represented Netherlands in the ring, offered little aside from his lazy right jab and constant but inconsistent movement around the ring. Nader, 21, tried hard to bring something dangerous to his African opponent but his lack of punching power resulted in a painfully monotonous fight. Neither boxer was able to hurt his opponent. BoxingScene saw it 80-72 - for Marcus Nader, who needs some serious work to improve his fistic power.

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