By Alexey Sukachev
Oberhausen,Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany - In a very close fight, veteran Felix Sturm (40-5-3, 18KOs) once again claimed gold with a twelve round majority decision over previously undefeated Fedor Chudinov (14-1, 10KOs) to capture the WBA super middleweight title. The scores were 114-114, 115-113, 115-113.
Sturm, now a five-time two-division titleholder, is indeed a great fighter. Yet his special mark is beyond any question, and it was proven again (and starker) tonight when at 37-years-old he found some inner resources to beat a much fresher fighter that he had previously lost to.
Despite upcoming outcries of robbery, it was a very close fight - a surprising testament of Sturm's unique abilities.
Their first fight, which took place in May 2015 and ended on a much wider split decision, has been won by Chudinov, 28, on his ring intellect and a smart choice of tactics. It was also won due to Sturm's lack of stamina, an indication of some inner problems in the camp. If anything, none of those problems were on display tonight as Sturm was in his best shape possible and rarely did he look that determined.
Still the opener was for the Russian, who came into this fight as the WBA super champion in the super middleweight division. TBRB #7 Chudinov used his jab well, moved liquidly and landed big right bombs on occasion to take the first round. Sturm has quickly adapted and started to connect with some shots of his own. Fighting off his tight guard, Sturm affected Chudinov by working in spurts and covering well. The Russian boxer responded with body shots but the German was well prepared for such offensive moves. Still after losing some early rounds, Chudinov was able to get back in the midst of the fight, with his own work in spurts, and BoxigScene had it 58-57 - for Chudinov at the very mid-point of the collision.
Sturm wasn't fading a bit - and surprisingly so - in the second half of the contest. Both combatants continued to collide in spurts, and the German fighter gave the Russian fits in this department. No one has ever been hurt or rocked during those offensive outbursts. Sturm was specifically effective during rounds 8 and 9 but in the tenth he suffered a minor cut over his right eye - a result of several accidental head clashes in previous rounds.
The bout wasn't overly entertaining but it wasn't dull either. Chudinov, meanwhile, lost control of the clash by allowing himself to work under a certain pace, while the fight itself was looking more and more like a war in the trenchese. Both combatants did their best to win the last (and decisive) round, and Sturm was more effective and successful in doing so.
At the end, one judge had it 114-114 - a draw, but he was overruled by the other two, who both had it 115-113 - for the German. There will be some certain cries of robbery but while some questions should be addressed to judges, it's also important to note that Chudinov looked worse in the second fight than in the first one, choosing wrong tactics and doing less than possible to get the win. BoxingScene had it 115-115 - a draw as well.
Sturm is now a five-time and two-division belthoder, winning a title in a new weight class on a second attempt, his previous reigns (WBO, WBA, WBA and IBF) taking place in middleweight division.
Former two-time heavyweight title challenger Francesco Pianeta (32-2-1, 18 KOs) experienced little trouble with 35-year old Turkish veteran Hasan Olaki (6-3, 3 KOs), stopping him in five.
Pianeta, 31, who lost via stoppages to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 and to Ruslan Chagaev the last July, dropped Olaki with a hard combo at the end of the third, then finished him off with big body shots in the fifth. Time was 1:50.
Former WBA light heavyweight world title challenger Konni Konrad (23-2-1, 11 KOs), know also as Mevludin Cokovic, came back into the winning column with a one-sided unanimous decision over Russian German Andrej Maurer (6-3-1, 4 KOs) in a stay-busy six-rounder.
Konrad, who was stopped in seven by Juergen Braehmer the last fall, dominated his lankier opponent with pressure and hard punishing blows in bunches. Maurer, 28, showed solid chin and desire to compete but was inconsistent to give Konrad, 30, fits. However, Maurer unexpectedly shocked Konrad with a left hand to drop him for a flash knockdown in round six. BoxingScene had it 58-55 - for the Montenegrin.
Ibrahim Guemues (7-0, 7KOs) continued his streak of knockouts by blasting out Yesilat Berkta (5-26) in a middleweight contest. For some odd reason this is the third time in a row the two boxers have faced each other. He knocked out Berkta in two rounds on October 3rd of last year in a light heavyweight contest and then stopped him again, in five rounds, a few weeks later on October 31st for the vacant German International middleweight title.
In a battle of undefeated super middleweights, Evgeny Shvedenko (2-0, 1KOs) won a four round unanimous decision over Slim Ben Khalifa (4-1-1). All three judges saw it 59-55.
Middleweight prospect Alex Born (7-0-1, 2KOs) won a four round unanimous decision over Mazen Girke (15-68).