By Alexey Sukachev
Messehalle, Leipzig, Sachsen, Germany - WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz (46-3, 24 KOs) continued his reign in unspectacular fashion, scoring a boring and hardly memorable unanimous decision over awkward Nigerian challenger Isaac Ekpo (22-2, 16 KOs). There were neither knockdowns, nor any interesting moments in the fight, which saw one trying to preserve as much energy as he can and the other one doing his best just to go the distance. Finals scores were: 118-110 (twice) and 119-109 - for the German, who made the second defense of the title he had previously got back from Arthur Abraham.
Rounds were pretty much alike. Stieglitz moved forward, trying to land conventional punches but not getting overheat with unnecessary desire. The #7 rated challenger (and 2004 Olympian for Nigeria) used his hands to block the champion's attacks and concentrated more on not getting hit than on hitting the target himself. Ekpo showed somewhat sturdy chin to take Stieglitz's shots well. His own swings mostly landed on air, creating draught around the German. Ekpo has some success in the closing rounds, connecting with some hard punches but that certainly wasn't enough (by a landslide) to give him any illusions about the outcome of the fight. BoxingScene had it 118-110 - also for the WBO champion.
A multi-title extravaganza between former world title challenger Manuel Charr of Germany by way of Syria/Lebanon and Russian veteran Denis Bakhtov ended in controversial fashion after five rounds, when Bakhtov failed to continue fighting claiming an injured right hand. Charr (25-1,15 KOs) was awarded with a TKO 6 win (official time was 0:15) and now holds a pathetic assortment of WBC leather, including WBC International, WBC Mediterranean, WBC Baltic, WBC CISBB and (sic!) WBC Arabic heavyweight titles.
Meanwhile, Bakhtov (now 36-9, 24 KOs) looked pretty good in the rounds he fought. He was pressing action against a bigger fighter in Charr, threw multiple combinations and took Charr's punches well. Being more active of the two the Russian edged his opponent in the first and almost repeated this trick in the second but Charr looked better at the end. In the third, Charr was dancing more than actually boxing. Rounds four and five were also mostly in Bakhtov's favour, although Charr wasn't hurt at any time, as wasn't Bakhtov either. Then the fight was abruptly stopped by Bakhtov's head coach and former IBF champion Dmitry Kirillov on the suggestion of the fighter himself. BoxingScene had it 47-48 - for Bakhtov at the time of stoppage.
Charr called for the WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko after the fight. It's to be noted, however, that the audience met the outcome with mixed reaction. It's also known that before the fight there were several claims from members of the German boxing community (f.e. from photographer Klaus Frevert, who questioned Charr's last three opponents plus Bakhtov), who doubted the honest outcome of the upcoming match. Frevert received a letter from Team Charr, threating to initiate some legal actions against those who didn't believe in the frank nature of Charr's fights.
WBO #12 light heavyweight Dominic Boesel (13-0, 4 KOs) was forced to work extra hard for a close majority decision win over tough-as-nails Italian Mirko Ricci (10-2, 4 KOs). Boesel beat Ricci over ten to retain his WBO Youth 175lb title for the third time. Scores were: 95-95, 97-92 and 98-91 - for the German fighter.
Former IBF welterweight champion Jan Zaveck (33-3, 18 KOs) of Slovenia, presently rated #13 by the International Boxing Federation, fought for the first time since losing a shutout decision to Keith Thurman in March. Zaveck, 37, successfully outpointed little-known Frenchman Sebastien Allais (15-8-4, 5 KOs) over eight. Scores were: 80-71 (twice) and 79-73 - for Zaveck.
Germany-based American light heavyweight Dario Bredicean (5-0, 2 KOs) outpointed Lithuanian trialhorse Egydijus Kakstys (3-18-2, 1 KO) unanimously over six rounds with three identical scores: 60-54.
Someone's "O" had got to go, and it has really gone through the stem and out of the window for previously undefeated German welterweight Steffen Sparborth (12-1, 9 KOs), who was stopped in six by a 19-year oild fellow unbeaten Deniz Ilbay (8-0, 4 KOs). Big win for Ilbay.
Tom Schwarz (2-0, 2 KOs) TKO 1 Pavlo Nechiporenko (2-9-1, 1 KO)
Tom Pahlmann (2-0, 1 KO) UD 4 Olegs Lopajevs (3-6, 2 KOs)