By Alexey Sukachev
IBF middleweight champion Sebastian Sylvester (33-3-1, 16 KOs) retained his title moments ago in a heated fight against aging Russian veteran Roman Karmazin (40-3-2, 26 KOs) with a bizarre and controversial ending, which has in many ways superceded the fight itself. The official outcome of the fight is a split draw that helped the German boxer to save his belt and championship status at Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Germany.
From round one it became clear that Sebastian Sylvester, a traditional German boxer with a concrete block, hard single jabs and slow, methodical pressure, would be opposed by a highly unconventional counterpuncher with a tendency to employ multiple combinations with a mixture of left hooks, right uppercuts and single right hands on the outside. The first round was in favour of Sylvester, who connected several times with a hard left jab. IBF #1 Karmazin, 37, was a better man in round two with his ring generalship and several fast combinations that clearly took their toll on Sylvester's face. In the third stanza, Karmazin achieved even more with two wicked left hooks to the liver of Sylvester and with several busy combinations which saw the German on retreat.
The tide turned to an extent in the next round. It was where Sylvester found a room for his long right hands. It also became obvious that Roman had no business with Sylvester on the inside where the German fighter landed short crisp uppercuts, especially fighting in clinch-mode. After that round, Roman's corneren asked him to throw punches in bunches, not to use single blows and to use Sylvester's trend to duck low before the beginning of his attack. It paid off in rounds six and seven when Karmazin was by far a busier man and landed more punches than Sylvester.
Round eight became well for Karmazin but Sebastian was able to turn back the tide once again and began to operate more with this right hand that landed flush on Karmazin's face. The Russian veteran also got severe problems with Sylvester's long but quick hard jab which peppered his nose. Round ten was a gory round for Karmazin who was hit by numerous punches by Sylvester and was in retreat mode on wobbly legs at the end of the round. Karmazin suffered a huge gash around his left eye in the tenth that grew bigger and bigger as the fight progressed.
The Russian fighter, making probably his last title surge in 14-year long pro career, dug deep and found something to deliver to the German fighter in the eleventh. The last round saw both fighters suffering after a lengthy war of attrition but it was Karmazin who applied more pressure and landed more shots than his opponent.
It looked like the winner was right here to be declared and Roman Karmazin himself raised the hand of Sebastian Sylvester, though many though this bout was really a toss-up.
Meanwhile, the anticipation of official announcement quickly got overheated and ragnarok unleashed at ringside near the supervisor and timekeeper. Some men tried to get involved with the official scoresheet summing and one of them was in the centre of major bust-up and got hit by several witnesses including some ladies.
The official verdict was announced not earlier than 10-12 minutes after the fight. Judge Matthew Podgorski unbelievably had the fight 111-117 - for the challenger, which was way off the mark. Judge John Lawson saw it 118-111 - for Sylvester, which also was a bit too much for a normal judgement. The third judge Pasquale Procopio from Canada voted this fight a draw with his 114-114 scorecard. BoxingScene also saw it 114-114.