By Alexey Sukachev
Hala Stulecia, Wroclaw, Poland - WBC cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (47-2-1, 33KOs) retained his title with a twelve round unanimous decision over mandatory challenger Francisco Palacios (21-2, 13KOs). The scores were 116-112, 117-112, 116-113. There were no knockdowns and it was pretty much an even fight with the champion getting the edge in most rounds. Palacios was lucky to survive the tenth round after getting in trouble. The champion won a controversial split decision over Palacios last April, also in Poland.
The bout was very tactical and even for the first nine rounds. Wlodarczyk, nicknamed "Diablo", still relatively fresh at 31 (his birthday was celebrated on Sep. 19) despite fighting in almost fifty fights throughout his twelve-year long career, which included a win and a loss against Steve Cunningham in 2006 for the IBF cruiserweight title, was also fast and resilient. Palacios, 35 and no spring chicken either, relied more on his power and activity. Both fighters repeatedly took turns controlling the fight in the first half. The contest was fought at a measured pace, with neither boxer getting hurt, injured or penalized.
During the second half of the bout, it became clear the fight was very even, which meant Palacios would have to step on the gas to win on the judges' scorecards. Sensing the fight could be going the Pole's way, WBC #1 ranked contender tried to stop elusive Wlodarczyk in his tracks with hard body shots. However, the Pole answered this challenge and started to land big left hooks to the liver. Both combatants engaged in heated exchanges but the overall level of activity and aggressiveness was low nevertheless.
In round ten, Palacios increased his pressure and connected with some telling blows. It was more or less his round, when all of a sudden the Pole iced the challenger with a left cracker to the jaw. Palacios, wobbled and very hurt, was able to remain on his feet and held on for dear life in the remaining seconds of the round. Still feeling the pain and with his head rather shaken, the Puerto Rican fighter lost the eleventh stanza as well. Both fighters slugged it out (but once again at a measured pace) in the twelfth.
Palacios suffers his second career defeat, to the same opponent. He is now 21-2, 13 KOs, and his instant future looks to be foggy. Wlodarczyk, on the other hand, proved a number of sceptics wrong (including some on his own team it appears) and continues to rule as a real cruiserweight champion. BoxingScene had it 115-113 - also for the Pole.
A bright and entertaining brawl was produced by two rugged veterans, Mariusz Cendrowski of Poland and Germany-based Cameroonian Bernard Donfack, in an all-action eight-rounder. Donfack (14-10-3, 6 KOs) was aggressive and willing; Cendrowski (23-4-2, 8 KOs) was the smoother boxer and the local favorite in this affair. Donfack had his moments, especially in the sixth, when he hurt the Pole with a big right hand, but Cendrowski summoned all of his inner resources to snatch a close decision in the closing minutes of the fight. Official scores were: 78-74 (twice) and 79-73 - for Cendrowski but BoxingScene had it a bit closer: 77-75 - also for the Pole.
21-year old Pole Kamil Laszczyk (10-0, 6 KOs), who is ranked WBO #14 at the super featherweight division, moved down in weight and captured a vacant WBC Baltic featherweight title against game Moldovan opponent Ghennadie Delisandru (18-15-1, 6 KOs). Despite fighting for the second time after a four-year long hiatus the 37-year old veteran offered some tough resistance to the local hero. He was aggressive and took well all the punches Laszczyk threw, although he lost all three rounds clearly. Delisandru was unable to come off of his stool for the fourth due to a severe pain in his right shoulder.
Cruiserweight prospect Lukasz Janik (23-1, 14 KOs), 26, came back to the ring after a year and a half layoff and impressively knocked out 41-year old Czech veteran Roman Kracik (34-10-1, 19 KOs) with a major right hook in the second round. Janik's lone loss came against red hot fellow compatriot Mateusz Masternak, one of the best kept secrets in boxing - at least in the Old World.
Highly ranked Polish light middleweight Damian Jonak (34-0-1, 21 KOs) has kicked off a small but notable night of boxing at Hala Stulecia in Wroclaw, Poland, with a wokmanlike six-round decision over young Hungarian Laszlo Fazekas (12-3-1, 9 KOs). WBA #3, WBC #5 and IBF #14 Jonak started slowly and was tagged several times in the first but then worked his way through an upset-minded opponent to earn unanimous scores from all the judges. Nevertheless, he needs to improve a lot in order to be competitive with the elite of 154lb weight class. On the other hand, Jonak is 29 and in bad need of a step-up in the near future so he doesn't fall into obscurity without testing himself against top-tier opponents.