By Alexey Sukachev
Germany - At almost 44 years, Firat Arslan came just two points short of accomplishing an enormous task - winning a major belt in the cruiserweight division at a record-breaking age. He has performed well enough for Leszek Jankowiak of Poland to award him a narrow win over defending IBF 200lb champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez with a slim score of 115-113, but he was overruled by Frenchman Vincent Dupas (115-113) and, more importantly, American Shafiq Rashada (116-113), who both saw it for the Cuban.
Hernandez, 29, making the fourth defense of the belt he earned in 2011 against Steve Cunningham, was a prohibitive favorite before the fight. Many thought IBF #13 Arslan had his swan song in the first fight against Marko Huck, and he was stopped in a rematch without any sensible chances - but Arslan immediately began to feed experts with their predictions. The veteran boxer was resilient and very aggressive - just as usual. Hernandez, much taller and with a wider wingspan, failed to adjust properly to his opponent but he did enough damage to take the first couple of rounds. Arslan continued to bully the Cuban no matter what, and he was a better man in the next three rounds, as Hernandez mounted a slight comeback in the sixth.
To that point strategies of both were clearly seen. The Cuban relied much on his body shots but Arslan just couldn't feel those punches despite a majority of them landing flush. Arslan chose head-hunting an activity over finesse and precision of Hernandez. The latter also threw multiple pitty-pat combinations with a single power shot planted somewhere in between.
In the second half of the bout both combatants did their best to prevail in a war of attrition. Both were very fatigued at the start of the championship rounds but continued to rumble until the end (although at a decreased tempo), and Arslan looked to be a slightly better man but he has never landed any decisive blows. He is now 34-8-2, 21 KOs, while Hernandez improves to 29-1, 14 KOs. BoxingScene had it a draw - 114-114.
WBO #9 super middleweight Tyron Zeuge (15-0, 9 KOs) collected his third consecutive TKO 9 in 2014 with a stoppage win over grizzled veteran Baker Barakat (40-17-4, 27 KOs). Zeuge acquired a vacant IBF International title in this fight.
Zeuge, 22, stylistically different to a majority of German fighters, started to plant hard, damaging single blows from the opening bell. Barakat, 33, merely a journeyman, who went astonishing 22-1 in 2011, was soon hurt and then wen down on a combination of punches. Punishment continued into the second round - it's when Barakat developed a notable swelling and later a cut over his right cheek.
In middle rounds Zeuge boxed reservedly and didn't let his hands go, preferring to play with Barakat and to train and refine his skills. Barakat tried to remain competitive but it wasn't the case. In round nine referee Joerg Milke called for a ringside physician who
recommended him to stop the bout on accumulation of punishment and facial damages of Barakat. Official time of stoppage was 1:05 of the ninth.
Another German Olympian made his successful debut in prizefighting as middleweight Stefan Haertel (1-0) easily outpointed Latvian veteran Olegs Fedotovs (18-15, 12 KOs) over six rounds with identical scores 60-53 on all the judges' scorecards.
Haertel defeated Enrique Collazo of Puerto-Rico and Irish Darren O'Neill during 2012 London Olympics before losing to eventual bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo. Against Fedotovs, the 26-year old German showed some promise and some skills, including an overhand right. Fedotovs was also deducted a point in round three for intentional
It is not easy to floor Ismail Abdoul, not to mention nearly impossible to knock out. However, that was what Norair Mikaelyan aka Noel Gevor (13-0, 7 KOs) had done in the third round of a scheduled eight-rounder against an ultra durable fighter from Belgium.
Gevor was better than Abdoul but not for a colossal margin. However, he controlled every minute of every round and had little problem cruising to a wide unanimous decision against one of the most active and experienced fighter in Europe. Abdoul (now 54-30-2, 20 KOs) was briefly dropped down in the third but that was a flash knockdown.
Abdoul was stopped just once in his career - against reigning WBC cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in 2002.
Danish featherweight Dennis Ceylan (12-0-1, 6 KOs) hasn't passed his first stiff test with an A mark. 2012 Danish Olympian was held just to a draw by a hard-nosed Spanish slugger Cristian "Pluto" Montilla (6-3-1, 4 KOs) in an even eight-rounder.
Ceylan, 25, displayed his entire arsenal in the starting rounds, boxing circles over Montilla and beating him to the punch. But Montila, also 25, hasn't gone anywhere, he was standing in front of Ceylan, winging punches and marching forward no matter what. A smaller man on paper, Spanish super bantamweight champion got bigger in the midst of the fight. Round five was a complete nightmare for Ceylan, who was being stalked all around the ring. Montilla continued to dominate in later rounds but Ceylan survived the storm and lasted till the final bell. BoxingScene also had it 76-76 - a draw.
Germany-based Armenian Abel Mikaelyan, better known as Abel Gevor, enjoyed an easy night with an uneventful and methodical unanimous decision over Hungarian journeyman Attila Palko (17-14, 13 KOs) in a scheduled six-rounder.
Gevor worked barely at one-third of his potential but it didn't prevent him from easily winning every round on his finesse and ring generalship. Gevor also suffered a cut over his right eyebrow following what was ruled an "accidental" headbutt by referee Ingo
Barrabas but was more of an intentional foul by Palko. It hasn't meant much at the end of the day as Gevor improved to 8-0, with 4 KOs, and the Hungarian is now 1-10 in his last eleven fights.