Robin Krasniqi could not have picked a better time for a career resurrection.
In a year loaded with big upsets and memorable knockouts, the 33-year old Kosovo native—now based in Munich—added his name the mix after flattening Dominic Boesel in the 3rd round of their light heavyweight clash Saturday evening at GETEC Arena in Magdeburg, Germany.
A right hand put Boesel down and out, conceding the IBO and interim WBA 175-pound title in the process.
From an odds perspective, there have been more notable upsets to have taken place in 2020. Statistically, however, Krasniqi rising to the occasion and the manner in which he finished the fight proved to be shocking across the board.
Traditionally, Krasniqi had fallen short anytime he has stepped up in class over the course of his 15-year career. Conversely, Boesel came in riding a hot streak. The 10-year pro from Freyburg, Germany had won six in a row including an impressive showing in an 11th round stoppage of Sven Fornling to pick up the interim light heavyweight title last November.
The lone loss of Boesel’s career came at the hands of Karo Murat, leading on two of the three scorecards at the time of the stoppage in the 11th round of their July 2017 clash. A win on Saturday would have kept the veteran contender—who turns 31 later this month—in the mix for a shot at a major title.
Instead, it’s Krasniqi who emerges as an unlikely player in a still potent light heavyweight division. The fight was his second of the year, while Boesel had been out of the ring since his aforementioned win over Fornling. The bout took a dramatic turn in the final minute of round three, though one where a major gaffe was overshadowed by the dramatic finish.
Krasniqi connected with a right hand which forced Boesel to pitch forward before collapsing to the canvas with 0:54 to go in round three. What was clearly a knockdown was instead ruled a slip by referee Oliver Brien, perhaps fooled by the manner in which Boesel fell into Krasniqi before hitting the deck.
It proved moot, as Krasniqi repeated the sequence moments later. A clean right hand put Boesel (30-2, 12KOs) flat on his back underneath the bottom rope. Brien briefly issued a count before waving off the contest at 2:25 of round three.
The outcome proved doubly stunning considering where Krasniqi was at in his career in addition to his modest knockout to win percentage. The Munich-based boxer had scored just 18 knockouts in 56 career fights heading into the night, for a 32.1% rate.
Saturday’s result is a reminder of why they fight in the ring rather than determine the outcome on paper.
Krasniqi improves—in every sense of the word—to 51-6 (19KOs) with the win. While many will sneer at the idea of interim titles, the belt now in Krasniqi’s possession puts him in for a future shot at secondary titlist Jean Pascal or WBA “Super” light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.
To date, Krasniqi has twice fallen short on the major title stage. He dropped a 12-round decision to then-unbeaten WBO 175-pound titlist Nathan Cleverly in April 2013, and also suffered a 9th round stoppage at the hand of countryman Jurgen Braehmer in their March 2015 secondary WBA title fight.
Krasniqi went the distance in a 12-round defeat to former two-division champion Arthur Abraham in their April 2017 non-title fight. He has since won five of his last six, none bigger over that stretch—or at any point in his career—than what took place in his most recent affair.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox