By Alexey Sukachev
At the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany, It was a frightful spectacle, which nobody bothered to stop, as reigning WBC heavyweight champion and "The Ring" #1 contender Vitali Klitschko (41-2, 38 KOs) defended his belt for the fifth time with a scarely one-sided and powerful beatdown of tough-as-nails ex-WBO champion Shannon "The Cannon" Briggs (51-6-1, 45 KOs) over twelve rounds. Someone will call it an impressive showing by the champion while others will be disappointed with Vitali's inability to score a knockout or even a knockdown against badly faded opponent.
WBC #8 contender from Brooklyn, New York, 38, was all words before the fight but immediately started to lay a planet-size egg just after the starting bell. Briggs was slowly walking around Klitschko hardly trying to let his hands go but doing a great deal of jogging and stepping. Vitali didn't do much either but punctuated his starting win with a pair of big right hands. It didn't get any better for Shannon in the second when Vitali continued his measured aggression against unwilling opponent. Briggs ate much leather without throwing any punches of significance.
The third stanza was quite the same with the American being a bit more active and dancing a bit more than usual. He did throw a horrific punch immediately after the beginning of the fourth round - it was a big right bomb, which shook Klitschko. He wasn't wobbled though and gave Briggs a terrible payback punching him at will throughout the entire stanza, which can be easily called "A payback stanza" for the champion.
Rounds five and six were as one-sided as they come but Briggs wasn't groggy even despite some sound haymakers by the Elder Brother. He even tried to fight back to a very limited success though. The seventh stanza was the first one, which could have been scored 10-8 - for Vitaly. He pummeled the American all round long; Briggs' unwillingness (or inability) to clinch on the inside resulted in his head being an easy target for Klitschko's powerful right cross. Shannon almost went down in closing seconds of the round but amazingly survived it till the bell.
There's barely any need to describe rounds eight till twelve as there was only one boxer inside the ring and his name was Vitali Klitschko. He punched Briggs at will, hitting him with all his arsenal, but was unable to stop him and to close th show. Briggs wilted under heavy fire but found some rhythm to weather this firestorm till the very end of the fight. He has even thrown several power shots and jabs to prevent referee Ian John-Lewis from a much deserved mercy stoppage. Briggs corner asked him if he wanted to continue fighting and Briggs chose to drain his cup of woe to the limit.
After twelve rounds, official scores were: 120-107 (Victor Manuel Cervantes and Guido Cavalleri) and 120-105 (Anek Hongtongkam). BoxingScene scored it 120-106 - for Vitaly Klitschko.
WBA #7, WBO #9 and WBC #10 ranked junior middleweight Zaurbek Baysangurov (24-1, 18 KOs), 25, from Kiev, Ukraine, but originally from Achkhoy-Martan, Chechnya, Russia, got the job done but hardly impressed against 40-year old Portuguese veteran Eugenio Monteiro (16-14, 8 KOs). Elusive and slick Monteiro danced more than boxed and wasn't hit by anything serious aside of one huge right hand by Baysangurov in the third round. He faded down the stretch however, and chose to retire on his stool right after the 3rd round. Not-so-impressive performance from Baysangurov who displayed problems in getting adapted for his opponent's awkward style.
WBC #14 Bosnian cruiserweight Nenad Borovcanin improved his record to a stunning 27-0, with 19 KOs, without fighting a single deserving opponent. Austrian hard-hitter (suppousedly) Patrick Berger (6-5, 6 KOs) was no exception, as the Bosnian southpaw easily stopped him at 2:28 of the first round. Berger was down twice after right hooks of Borovcanin. He wasn't visibly hurt but the contest was a one-sided affair anyway.
In a fight between two unbeaten cruiserweights, Germany-based Turkish fighter Hizni Altunkaya (13-0, 7 KOs) destroyed heavily tattoed German Mathias Reinhardt (3-1, 2 KOs) at 1:27 of the very first round after three easy knockdowns. Reinhardt was just no match for aggressive Altunkaya.
WBA #4 and EBA champion Alexander Ustinov (22-0, 17 KOs) moved forward with the second-round blowout of Turkish "fighter" Oezcan Cetinkaya (18-8-1, 12 KOs) who delivered one of the most miserable and shameful performances in recent years. Cetinkaya was down three times in the first and twice in the second from what were more pushes than actual punches and showed almost no desire to fight but only to survive at every second of every fought round. Ustimov, a behemoth-size heavyweight, is surely in need of tougher challenges.
Former WBO cruiserweight champion Ola Afolabi (15-2-3, 6 KOs) successfully came back to the ring after a lengthy hiatus with a workmanlike decision over durable and determined Prague-based Georgian Sandro Siproshvili (24-7, 11 KOs). Afolabi, who is best known for a monster kayo of Welsh Enzo Maccarinelli and an upset victory over highly touted prospect Eric Fields, was his usual reluctant self. He attacked Siproshvili with hard, single punches with a special accent on his left hand to both Georgian's head and body. Siproshvili was fighting in spurts and was pretty effective in doing so but his blows were too weak to give Afolabi any trouble. The England-based Nigerian gradually got better as this fight progressed but didn't press action to stop game but overmatched opponent. Afolabi has badly bloodied Sandro's nose and was close to get the job done in the last round but chose not to finish his foe.
After ten rounds of boxing, spectators were visibly disappointed with the action and didn't applaud the contestants. Scores were 100-90, 98-92 and 98-93 - for Ola Afolabi. The last score is identical to that of the BoxingScene.