By Jake Donovan
To this day, Giovanni De Carolis insists he deserved the nod in his first fight with Vincent Feigenbutz. Leaving nothing to chance, the visiting boxer from Italy took it out of the judges' hands in scoring an 11th round stoppage in their rematch Saturday evening in Offenburg, Germany.
De Carolis was in control for the majority of the bout, surviving a few scares along the way to ultimately close the show. A flurry of punches forced a referee stoppage at 0:32 of round eleven, with De Carolis winning a version of the super middleweight title in the process.
Their first fight - which took place just three months ago in Feigenbutz' hometown of Karlsruhe, Germany - saw De Carolis jump out to a fast start, flooring the local favorite and having appeared to do enough over 12 rounds to secure the biggest victory of his career. He missed it by the slimmest of margins on all three scorecards, but made it close enough to where a rematch was warranted.
Once again, the 31-year old seized control from the opening bell, taking the fight to a surprisingly lethargic Feigenbutz who struggled to unleash his offense.
The local favorite managed to briefly turn the tide in the middle rounds. Round four saw terrific two-way action, with the 20-year young Feigenbutz rocking the visiting challenger and flurrying along the ropes. He followed up in round five, as De Carolis was overzealous in his attack and left himself open for an uppercut which snapped back his head.
Just as it appeared that Feigenbutz would maintain momentum, the fight quickly shifted back in favor of the challenger.
The title fight appeared to destined to head to the scorecards before De Carolis exploded in the latter rounds. Feigenbutz' already low punch output continued to drop as his rival became more aggressive.
De Carolis came racing out of his corner at the start of round eleven, rocking Feigenbutz in causing him to turn his back as if to retreat. The sequence will be framed by Sauerland Event if and when an official protest is filed, as the fight-ending flurry was kicked off by a right hand that cupped around Feigenbutz' head and catching him on the chin.
Referee Gustavo Padilla moved in as if to stop the contest - or at least the action - but instead paused and let the fight continue. De Carolis unleashed a two-fisted assault that left Feigenbutz reeling before the third man was left with no choice but to intervene.
The insistence by Sauerland staff at fight's end was that of an illegal punch, but the in-ring protest fell on deaf ears.
Instead, the De Carolis corner rightly celebrated the massive win. His record moves to 24-6 (12KOs), picking up a super middleweight title in the process. While there are seemingly as many belts as there are fighters these days, the significance of this win is that it puts the 31-year in position to challenge the winner of the forthcoming rematch between Fedor Chudinov and Felix Sturm.
It was once an honor that belonged to Feigenbutz, but the 20-year young boxer will have to wait at least one more fight for an opportunity on that level. He'd won 20 straight heading into the fight, but leaves an ex-champ and suffering his first loss since his second pro fight as he falls to 21-2 (19KOs).
Ever the sportsman, De Carolis extended an offer to do it once again. Just as he was granted the opportunity to avenge his past loss (however disputed the outcome in October), the newly crowned titlist and his team left the door open for a trilogy.
"I am a fighter. I come here to fight," De Carolis humbly stated at night's end.
He came to fight the first time around, though perhaps not realizing he'd also have to take on the judges. In stepping up his game, he leaves with the biggest win of his career and likely a career-best payday the next time he steps into the ring.
The bout aired live on SAT.1 in Germany.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox