While the last thing the world probably needs right now is a WBC silver bridgerweight title, Alen Babic is one of those fighters that tends to put smiles on faces and the new world of small heavyweights (or big cruiserweights) could be a home for him.
Babic’s fight with Adam Balski had just about everything. It started as an all-out firefight and a knockdown, it moved into a bit of an exhausted stalemate, then both showed stunning bravery and stamina, there was an illegal punch that almost turned the fight on its head and there was a grandstand finish. There was even a fair bit of skill at times.
Against all the odds, it went the distance, Babic winning a unanimous decision, by scores of 97-91 twice and 95-93, but this was a wild and crazy thriller.
A glancing left hook dropped Babic in the first 20 seconds, although that did little to quell Babic’s attacking instincts as he went after Balski with mixed success, buzzing the Polish boxer with a left hook, but often missing wildly and leaving himself open for counters.
The second round was wild, Babic coming out like a steam train and both nailing each other with hard shots but then missing with follow-ups.
Balski had success on the backfoot in the third round, ducking low to avoid a punch and then countering, but the pressure seemed to be having an effect on him. A wide right hook and a left hook seemed to hurt Balski when he was trapped in a corner.
The pace slowed in the fourth round, which gave Balski a chance to box his way off the ropes.
By the fifth round, the pair looked exhausted as Babic still went forward, but was throwing fewer punches, but he recomposed himself in the sixth and bullied Balski around the ring.
Babic landed a good left hook early in the seventh round and then seemed to have Balski in trouble after landing a big right later on.
The eighth was one-sided, as pressured Balski and, for the first time, picked his punches. By now, Balski was just trying to cover up and move, but when a big right hammered in on Balski late in the round, a stoppage looked close.
Bravely, Balski went on and after finding some strength in the last few seconds of the ninth round, he landed a huge right hand just after the bell to end the round that seemed to virtually knock out Babic on his feet.
Referee Victor Loughlin deducted a point for the late punch at the start of the final round, which the Polish boxer will probably have felt was worth it, but rather than throw everything into an attack, Balski looked content to box his way through.
But when Babic went back on the attack, he was rocked again by Balski, but as Babic staggered back towards Balski they both landed good shots. As the ten-second warning sounded, both went for it, Babic landing another huge hook that rocked Balski.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.
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