By Graham Houston
Jürgen Brähmer will be seeking to close out a highly successful 2009 in style when he defends his WBO interim light-heavyweight title against little-known Dmitriy Sukhotsky, of Russia, in Brähmer’s hometown of Schwerin in northern Germany on Saturday. This has been a terrific year for Brähmer, the one-time bad boy of German boxing whose brushes with the law have been well-chronicled. Beaten on points by Hugo Hernan Garay in a game title bid in November 2008, Brähmer has stopped all three of his opponents this year, and he was punching particularly hard in his last couple of fights as he halted Italy’s Antonio Brancalion in 93 seconds and then hammered the strong, game Polish boxer Aleksy Kuziemski in the 11th, scoring four knockdowns, two of them in the first three rounds.
I haven’t seen Sukhotsky, but the Russians are usually well-schooled. Like Brähmer, Sukhotsky started out as a 168-pounder. His best win was a close eight-round points victory over David Gogiya, a fighter good enough to win the European super middleweight title. I gather that Sukhotsky started very aggressively in that fight, almost overwhelming his more experienced opponent, but Gogiya was coming on strongly at the end. It appears that Sukhotsky looked a bit drained in the last couple of rounds; in a 10-rounder Gogiya would almost certainly have won.
Sukhotsky is unbeaten but has nowhere near Brähmer’s experience. He qualifies for this championship challenge because he holds the WBO’s version of the European title, which he won in his last fight by overpowering Spain’s Juan Nelongo in eight rounds three months ago; Nelongo turns 40 in eight days’ time.
I’m expecting a game challenge from Sukhotsky, who looks tough enough to go some rounds. However, I would expect Brähmer to do damage with his sharp punching from the southpaw stance against this level of opponent, and I think that the referee might be getting ready to stop this fight around about the eighth round.