There were tons of events that went on this past weekend outside the United States. Fights with title shot implications, prospects taking a step up, and your typical controversial scoring from the hometown judges.
Our biggest event this past weekend, was a WBO Super middleweight title eliminator between Robin Krasniqi and the guy who just lost that exact title, Arthur Abraham. Abraham, came into the fight, 37 years old, and knowing his back was against the wall, that this would be his last chance to keep his name relevant at 168 pounds. Being undersized for the division, Abraham decided to be active with his punches and throw with intent for most the fight. Krasniqi got a good start, as Abraham is known to give up the first couple rounds. However, in rounds 2 and 3, Abraham realized he could take the best shots Krasniqi had to offer and not be phased by it. He began marching down Krasniqi, covering up as he got near him and then throwing jabs, hooks, overhands and landing everything with intent. Towards the middle of the fight, Krasniqi showed his heart, but was wilting away at the punches Abraham threw at him. There were a few occurrences where Krasniqi didn’t have his legs under him, even being told by the ref later in the fight, he wasn’t going to let Robin get hurt, but he managed to hear the final bell. The scorecards were all over the place 115-114, 117-111 and 118-110, all in favor of Arthur Abraham, who sets himself up with Gilberto Ramirez, in a rematch for the WBO Super middleweight title. Ramirez defeated Max Bursak last night in California by sleep inducing unanimous decision. It will be interesting to see if Abraham can do anything in the rematch to force back his title, one tactic would be, to have the fight in Germany, where the judges will certainly side with the hometown guy. Another thing Arthur can do, is to be active. In their first fight, Abrahams activity was almost nonexistent and he gave up his belt on shut out scorecards from the judges
In undercard action, Adam Deines stopped Lukasz Golebiewski in round 3 of an 8-round bout. Deines improved to 11-0-1 and Golebiewski dropped to 8-1. Tom Schwarz stopped out matched Adnan Redzovic in the second round to pick up the vacant WBO Intercontinental heavyweight title. After the bout, Schwarz dedicated his first regional title victory to his grandfather who got him into boxing as a child, and had just recently passed. Lastly, before the main event, we were treated to a special attraction bout, with Mohammed Rabii, who won a bronze medal in the 2016 summer games, had to worker harder than expected over 6 rounds, to defeat Jean Pierre Habimana by unanimous decision, with scores being 58-56. Rabii will have to retool his game plan going forward if he wants to have a successful career.
Avtendil Khurtsidze went into enemy territory and could impressively stop Tommy Langford to gain the interim WBO middleweight strap. Avtendil chased Langford down, laughing off Langford’s punches. Everything Khurtsidze threw, was thrown with intention. In the 5th round, after chasing down Langford, Avtendil caught Tommy Langford with a big left hook that put him down hard, Langford arose in bad shape, and the ref stopped the fight. Avtendil already has his next fight set, as he will challenge Billy Joe Saunders for his middleweight strap in London, on July 8th.
In Liverpool, there was a crossroads battle, as Martin Murray, who was returning to 160lbs, won a majority decision, on scores that had a lot of people questioning, over veteran battle horse, Gabriel Rosado. 114-114 sounded fair, 116-112 for Murray was understandable, but one judge had it 119-109 for Murray which was not to be believed, causing Gabe Rosado to mouth off to the judges after the scores were read, in disgust over the situation. In other action, Rocky Fielding won a split decision over John Ryder, to pick up the British super middleweight title.
In Poland, Krzysztof Zimnoch stopped the past his prime, Michael Grant, in two rounds, who is sadly still fighting even though his best days were in the late 90s when he was a title contender. Zimnoch was a better fighter in every way, hurting Grant with a big combination of punches, Grant went down, got up but was greeted by a left and a right from Zimnoch, that put him away for good.
Lastly, in Sweden, Otto Wallin picked up the biggest win of his career so far, as he stopped Gianluca Mandras, of Italy, in the 5th round. Wallin, in the process, picked up a regional strap. Mikaela Lauren won a 6-round decision over late replacement American, Kita Watkins.