By Alexey Sukachev
WeeArena, Bad Toelz, Germany - Despite his recent setback against Arthur Abraham, multi-fight veteran Robin Krasniqi (48-5, 17 KOs) continued his road as a contender in the super middleweight division with a very close win over willing but plodding Russian Stanislav Kashtanov (36-3, 21 KOs), a former WBA interim titleholder. He is now the new European (EBU) 168lb titleholder.
Krasniqi, 31, was a life-time light heavyweight competitor before moving down in weight in 2015, following a loss to Juergen Braehmer. His biggest assets are good chin and reflexes, which allowed him to avoid danger in close fights and in close quarters. Krasniqi did exactly that against Kashtanov, 33, and he was particularly successful with his movement and busy hand-work in the opening rounds.
He often caught Kashtanov flush on the Russian's chin and capitalized even more with his jab.
Kashtanov, oppositely, couldn't land anything big at all, hitting air and missing to the body of elusive Krasniqi. He took all the German's bombs (or, it's better to say, light grenades) well - but he looked to be one to do damage.
After a mid-point, however, the German began to lose energy, fading in the closing moments, and then up to the last few rounds.
Kashtanov capitalized to land a number of heavy blows but Krasniqi didn't wilt under power. He was more busy running than actually fighting during the last three rounds but it didn't affect the outcome of the fight.
Final scores were: 117-111, 116-112, and 116-113 - all for Robin Krasniqi.
Light-hitting German super middleweight Emre Cukur (11-0, 2 KOs) got what appeared to be a gift split decision over battle-tested Ukrainian veteran Roman Shkarupa (28-8-2, 12 KOs) in a heated encounter for a vacant EBU External European 168lb title.
Shkarupa, 39, a long-time all-European contender, used his experience and tight skills to keep Cukur, 25, in trouble in almost every round. He lacked punching power to get the job done, while Cukur also showed a solid chin.
When possible (and rarely so) Cukur replied with potent jab but his power(-less) punches didn't produce any affect on the Ukrainian.
Shkarupa produced a strong surge later on to close the fight firmly in his favour. Yet, the judges somehow failed to agree on the obvious, awarding it to Cukur to the great pleasure of local Turkish supporters. Scores were: 115-113, 114-113, and 113-114 - for Emre Cukur.