By Alexey Sukachev
Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany - Longtime cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (39-3-1, 27KOs) has physically recovered in full force with a stoppage win of Ola Afolabi (22-5, 11KOs) after the tenth round of their fourth meeting, and captures the IBO championship.
The German veteran, still young at 31, started off as if he long planned to capture Afolabi's title. Huck was his usual self - fighting in spurts, swinging wildly, using all types of roughhouse tactics. Afolabi was relying more on his jab but he was outpunched in the first round by those short but explosive outbursts by the former WBO champion. Afolabi came back in the second, keeping Huck at bay with his crisp jab but the German was better in the third again. Marco was also a better man in the fourth, specifically taking the end of the round by a solid attack. By that point he was also warned several times by referee Jack Reiss for excessive use of dirty tricks.
Afolabi was forced to be on the front foot from round five. Unfortunately for him, his left eye was rapidly closing due to a number of Huck's punches having landed in that area. Huck didn't think twice about targeting the left side of Afolabi's face. Nevertheless, the Nigerian was moving forward, throwing jabs but too few power shots to support his claim. Huck was reserved but when needed he was exploding with multiple power punches. Creative headbutting, turnarounds and rabbit punches did little harm to Huck and were adding despair to Afolabi. The latter looked mostly lost after the seventh round.
Afolabi had gradually become a stationary target for Huck leading right hand bombs, which affected him badly. In rounds eight and nine, Afolabi was often trapped at the ropes and deflected only a limited number of shots, eating much leather in return. Huck's dominance grew as Afolabi's left eye continued to swell at a quick pace. At the end of round nine, Huck continued his assault after the bell - for which he saw a point deducted by the referee.
Fatigued and fighting with one eye completely shut, 35-year-old Afolabi fought on instinct through the tenth, getting hit with some serious punches. After the tenth, Afolabi was carefully examined by the referee and wasn't allowed to continue. Afolabi suffers the first stoppage loss of his career and is now 0-3-1 against the German.
All three of their previous bouts were very close and full of action. Huck won a twelve round unanimous decision in their first bout in 2009. They met again in 2012 and fought to a twelve round draw. The third bout was held the following year, with Huck winning a close twelve round majority decision.
In Huck's last fight, he lost his WBO crown when he was knocked out in eleven rounds by unbeaten Pole Krzysztof Glowacki in August. It was the first loss for Huck as a cruiserweight since 2007.
In his last time out, Afolabi knocked out Olympic gold medal winner Rakhim Chakhkiev in five rounds last November in Kazan, Russia.
Once-touted to be one of the most promising German prospects, middleweight DominikBritsch (32-2-1, 11KOs) looked like a completely wasted talent in his workmanlike, dull decision over Bosnian no-hoperSlavisaSimeunovic (19-14, 17KOs).Britsch, who started his career with 26 wins in a row but then was derailed by unheralded Spanish andTounissian journeymen, was lazy, rusty and unwilling to engage his opponent.Simeunovic was aggressive at some points and landed his share of blows, even despite losing unanimously (80-72 x3) to the German. BoxingScene had it 78-74 - forBritsch.Simeunovic was stopped in 12 of his 13 previous losses.
Cecilia Braekhus (28-0, 7 KOs) isn't nicknamed The First Lady of Boxing for nothing. A dominant welterweight, who overpowered every opponent put in front of her, including extremely tough Anne Sophie Mathis (best known for her brutal stoppage of Holly Holm) and Myriam Lamare of France, continued her winning series with a one-sided decision over nice-looking heavily tattooed Uruguyan Chris "El Bombon Asesino" Namus (21-4, 8 KOs).
After shaking some ring rust in the first couple of rounds, Braekhus, 34, who was out of the ring for a year and three months, while moving to K2 Promotions from the Sauerland Event, started to get back to work. She was landing solid punches, beating Namus to the punch, scoring much as a counterpuncher. Namus honestly worked for all ten rounds but was dominated and heavily outboxed. Scores were 100-90 across the boards. Braekhus made the seventeenth defense of her record assortment of hardware, which included WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO 147lb titles.