By Alexey Sukachev
Pationoarul Dunarea, Galati, Romania - WBO #10 Romanian heavyweight Christian Hammer (14-3, 10 KOs) survived some tough moments in the second defense of his WBO European title against once-defeated Norse Leif Larsen (17-2, 14 KOs) but successfully got his job done, by knocking Larsen cold in the midst of the seventh round. Hammer became the first to put Larsen to sleep - a feat even 2004 Athens gold medalist Odlanier Solis failed to achieve.
Larsen started slowly, boxing in his usual plodding manner - hands down and wild swings from different angles. Hammer ate a number of these thick blows early on but he has never been wobbled or rocked, even though Larsen landed a good number of them. Boxing of the ropes, Hammer did his best job with his jabs, preparing Larsen for the end. Round three was even, Larsen got a good round four, but in the fifth the Romanian took the control and never looked back. After having a good fifth stanza, Hammer got very aggressive in the sixth, caught his second win and found his grove. A major counter right sent Larsen down late in the round. The fighter from Norway didn't recover all that good during the break and was on receiving end of Hammer's gloves in the seventh. He was coming forward at the Romanian no matter what and paid a big price. After missing with his right, he was caught by a huge right hand followed by a short left hook that had him instantly out in the centre of the ring. Big win for Hammer!
Undefeated Hungarian Istvan Szili (17-0-1, 7 KOs), also known as Spartan, failed to continue a ride of success, when he was denied his great effort against Germany-based Turk Goekalp Oezekler (15-1-1, 6 KOs) and limited to quite a debatable draw at Pationoarul Dunarea at Galat, Romania. Thus, a vacant WBO I/C middleweight title remained within the same status after the fight.
Szili, 31, with a look of a bodybuilder, appeared to be physically stronger than his opponent - and by far. However, Oezekler, 31, firstly boxed on the even terms with the Hungarian, using his jab to pepper Szili's face. Istvan, as powerful as he was, was surprisingly (for a former Hungarian amateur national) straightforward in his approach. He did better when he used his left uppercut to tag the Turkish fighter. Oezekler tried to use his skills but his shape didn't help the idea. From round five, big, thudding punches of Szili began to take their toll on Oezekler. The Hungarian fighter was methodically breaking his opponent's will and forced him to feel fatigue sooner than later.
Unfortunately, Szili lacked much needed power to finish Oezekler, who was on wobbly legs in round seven and lost the next couple of rounds as well. The Turk experienced a late revival, taking the tenth round, prompting his trainer and former multi-time world title challenger Oktay Urkal to jump inside the ring before being forced out of it by referee Manfred Kuechler, but Szili finished the bout stronger, landing huger punches at a higher rate. BoxingScene scored the fight 117-111 - for Szili, a win he was pretty criminally denied.
Danny Williams (44-18, 33 KOs), a familiar name who has slowly been put into oblivion firstly in his native England and then around a number of continental states, continued his painful decline to a very sad end, which looks more and more inevitable with each taken punishment. This time Williams, 40, was destroyed in four by little-skilled and average-powered Pole Marcin Rekowski (10-0, 9 KOs), loosing his eighth straight
Williams was badly hurt in the first, then wobbled all around the ring in the second stanza after eating several major left hooks of Rekowski. Surprisingly, the Brixton Bomber made an amazing comeback in the third, even rocking the Pole a couple of times despite going down once (which wasn't ruled a knockdown). It was his swan song in a miniature, as he started to take even more punishment in the fourth. Finally, he invited Rekowski to deal more punishment in the corner, which the latter certainly did. After seeing Williams eating several big bombs, the referee stepped in at 1:47 and waved the fight off.