By Alexey Sukachev
ISS Dome, Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany - Sam Soliman (43-11, 17KOs) won a close twelve round unanimous decision over former champion Felix Sturm (37-4-2, 16KOs). The scores were 116-111, 114-113 and 114-113 for Soliman.
Sturm drops his second fight in a row. Soliman, now the winner of a final middleweight eliminator, gets in place for a mandatory fight with IBF champion Daniel Geale.
Fighting for the first time since his close split decision loss to Geale, Sturm wasplanned some sweet revenge on Australian veteran Soliman. Sturm came in being ranked #2 by the WBA and #3 by the IBF, while Soliman, who has scored 7 wins in succession since his loss to Anthony Mundine in 2008 rematch, was ranked #1 by the IBF.
Sturm, 34, came out fighting. He used his potent jab to frustrate Soliman in the first, also putting an accent on is right hand. Soliman was as awkward as he usually is, but his style didn't give the German much trouble in the beginning.
It got worse for the Australian in the second. Early into the round he was repeatedly tagged by Sturm's hard right hands, and finally one of these crosses put him down badly. Soliman was wobbling considerably, as Sturm tried to hunt him down, but managed to survive a heated onslaught. He was also hammered in the third round.
Soon thereafter the fight started to change. Soliman managed to preserve his distance, limiting Sturm to rare attacking bursts. Meanwhile, Soliman himself tried to be much more accurate with his punches. He was also the more active of the two, putting his accuracy behind his punch output. That made up for either three or four even rounds, though Soliman had connected with more punches than Sturm.
In the eighth, Sturm experienced a partial revival. He landed several hard blows to get Soliman's attention. But there was no following up, so the ninth was rather even. In the closing championship rounds - Soliman was first to rally with hard, grazing attacks in the tenth and in the eleven, but Sturm returned some favors in the twelfth round.
Ironically, it was Sturm who fell victim to a dubious decision, although he had previously been accused for many years of being the judges' favorite in Germany. BoxingScene had it 115-113 - for Sturm.
In a cross-roader between The Killer Queen and The Killer Bee, the Queen proved to be of a higher grandeur than her softly-stinging and also slowly-flying opponent, as Susi Kentikian (30-2, 16 KOs) acquired the vacant WBA female interim flyweight title with a hard-fought win over late sub Sanae Jah (7-1, 2 KOs) from Belgium.
Jah, 28, has come in as a late replacement for Russian veteran Anastassia Toktaulova, who suffered an always disappointing visa issue just a few days before the fight. However, Jah proved to be a competent opponent for the Killer Queen. Lanky and taller than Kentikian, Jah tried to use her jab to keep the rushing Armenian at bay. It helped her in some exchanges but more often than not Kentikian (still just 25) used her vast ring experience to trouble Jah on the inside. The Belgian fighter also scored with her fast combintations but her punches lack any might to prevent Kentkian from moving in. Susi's power, on the other hand, was weel felt by the Belgian.
After the first half of the bout, Jah started to fade. Adding to her misfortune was a swelling over her left eye. The Killer Queen smelt the blood just fine to drop Jah midst into the seventh round. Jah used her clutching skills to survive. She came back well in the eighth but was on the receiving end of Susi's punches in the last couple of rounds. Kentikian suffered a bad cut over her right eye in the tenth after an accidental headbutt. She vowed to go on and ended a battler in a bruising braw with Jah.
After the scores were summed, Kentkian was declared a winner by the unanimous decision. Scores were: 99-90.5, 98-93 and 97.5-92, as the fight was scored with the help of a new half-point scoring system by the judges. Kentikian put an end to her two-fight losing streak, as she failed miserably in 2012, dropping close decisions to Melissa McMorrow and Carina Moreno. The latter is the regular WBA champion in this weight class.
German Armenian Arman Torosyan (6-0-1, 4 KOs) clearly didn't impress anybody with his methodical but boring six-round decision over local trialhorse Marcen Gierke (10-49-2). Torosyan was better in every possible aspect of the fights but still didn't do enough to halt his rugged opponent. All three judges had it a shutout for Torosyan though: 60-54 x 3.
At almost 41, Denmark-based Congolese Lolenga Mock still rocks a lot! This time Mock (31-13-1, 12 KOs) turned back the clock once again, upsetting local Albanese Patrick Dobroschi (13-2-3, 4 KOs) over eight hard-fought rounds. Fighting for the first time since June 2011, Mock looked reserved in a slow opener but then cruised to take the control of the fight from the weakening hands of Dobroschi. At the end of the day, all three judges had it unanimously for Lolenga Mock, who was previously a three-tume European Union, the EBA and the WBO I/C titlist in super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. His only knockout loss came along almost ten years ago from then 6-0 David Haye (but not before scaring the future two-division, four-belt champion with a hard knockdown in the second round).
Comebacking light middleweight Maurice Weber (17-1-1, 5 KOs), a former German national champion, scored a workmanlike decision over durable but overmatched Polish challenger Mariusz Biskupski (19-25-1, 8 KOs). Weber, who hadn't fought for three straight years betweeen December 2008 and December 2011, looked mediocre against a worse fighter. He showed some swagger but forgot to back up all of his bravado with something reasonable in the ring. Still he had enough tools to outpoint Biskupski comfortable over six. Scores were: 58-56 and 60-54 (twice) - for Maurice Weber.
The Bosnian Lion Adnan Redzovic (10-0, 3 KOs) got a well-deserved unanimous decision over his German counterpart Niko Falin (3-2, 2 KOs) in a six-round heavyweight contest. Bigger and sturdier Redzovic also proved to be more resilient and, at 35, surprisingly - more active of the two. Redzovic was an aggressor, slowly but inevitably stalking Falin around the ring. The German retaliated in style in the first three rounds but as the bout progressed, Redzovic was more and more dominating with his crisp jab and nice timing. He hurt the German repeatedly but was unable to stop him withing a distance. Nonetheless, all three judges had it convincingly for the Saraevo native: 59-56 (twice) and 59-55.
Super middleweight Alex Born (2-0, 1 KO) notched his first professional victory inside the distance by stopping Polish import Rafal Raczynski (0-2-1) in the second round of scheduled four.
Light welterweight Magomed Yangubaev (7-0-1, 3 KOs) made an extra short work of pitiful journeyman Suleyman Dag (9-40, 4 KOs). Yangubaev knocked Dag out in the very first round. It was 28th soppage loss by the latter fighter.