By Karl Freitag
In an intense and brutal fight between big hitters, WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (31-1, 23 KOs) retained his world title by twelve round split decision against dangerous and previously unbeaten mandatory challenger Denis Lebedev (21-1, 16 KOs) on Saturday night at the Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin. The fight started at a brisk pace with both fighters landing big shots. Huck landed several huge right hands in round two against his southpaw challenger. Lebedev applied heavy pressure, but Huck continued to land the cleaner shots in the third. Further relentless attack from Lebedev as the bout progressed with Huck continuing to find a home for the right hand. Lebedev was cut over the left eye by a punch in round nine. Huck landed a series of clean rights in the tenth round. Lebedev came on strong in round eleven and round twelve was close. Scores were 115-113, 115-113 for Huck, 116-112 for Lebedev. It was Huck’s fifth successful defense.
Unbeaten heavyweight and Olympic gold medalist Alexander Povetkin (21-0, 15 KOs) won a ten round unanimous decision over Nicolai Firtha (19-8-1, 8 KOs). Povetkin pressed the action the entire fight and was a clear winner, but Firtha was competitive until the end. Scores were 98-92, 100-90, 99-91. After the fight, Povetkin said he suffered a possible broken right hand in round one.
In a WBA cruiserweight eliminator, Yoan Pablo Hernandez (23-1, 12 KOs) scored a first round KO over Ali Ismailov (18-4-1, 13 KOs). Hernandez hit Ismailov with a right to the chin and Ismailov retreated and fell though the ropes where he was counted out. Time was 2:23.
Heavyweight Kubrat Pulev (10-0, 5 KOs) scored a one-sided eight round unanimous decision over former Euro champion Paolo Vidoz (26-10, 15 KOs). Scores 80-72 on all cards.
Heavyweight Francesco Pianeta (21-1, 13 KOs) needed just 70 seconds to stop Mike Middleton (13-20-1, 5 KOs). A left hook to the body laid out Middleton. Nice comeback for Pianeta who returned to the ring after beating cancer.
Light heavyweight Dustin Dirks (18-0, 12 KOs) outpointed Alpay Kobal (7-10-2, 5 KOs) over eight. Scores were 80-72, 80-72, 80-71.
Light heavyweight Erik Skoglund (4-0, 2 KOs) scored two first round knockdowns and got a TKO stoppage between rounds when Mile Nikolic (4-9, 2 KOs) could not continue due a cut.