By Wolfgang Schiffbauer at ringside
WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm made a successful tenth title defense tonight in front of over 18,000 fans at the sold-out Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, against Irishman Matthew Macklin in a true thriller.
The challenger got off to a great start, pushing Sturm back with an enormous offensive workrate in the first three rounds. The champion, however, picked up the pace in the fourth and slowly gained control of the action with his quick and accurate combinations. Macklin never backed up, though, thus making it a toe-to-toe battle with him being the agressor while Sturm landed the cleaner punches. Both fighters had their fair share moments, hence making it a close fight going into the championship rounds.
The last two rounds added to the drama traded heavy shots and bringing the crowd to their feet. The fight ended with Sturm landing a brutal assault after taking good shots himself. The final bell concluded the great action, leaving the decision in the judges’ hands. They scored the bout 115:113 Macklin, 116:112 and 116:112 for Sturm, who emerged the split decision winner in one of the year’s best fights in Germany.
Rising heavyweight hope Manuel “Diamond Boy” Charr scored the biggest win of his career in the co-feature at the Lanxess Arena against former Mike Tyson conqueror Danny Williams from Great Britain. Charr, fighting out of the Sturm stable, dominated the action from the beginning albeit suffering two cuts during the bout. He had Williams in serious trouble in rounds three and five but could not drop him. The end came in the seventh when Charr answered a Williams flurry with brutal shots forcing the referee to call a halt to the action. Charr moves to 18-0 with 10 KOs. Williams falls to 43-10.
Former female flyweight world champion Nadia Raoui won her first fight since dropping a close split decision to Susi Kentikian in April 2010 against Evgenila Zablotckaia by six-round unanimous decision. Raoui never had any trouble and won easily. She moves to 12-1-1. Zablotckaia falls to 3-6.
Middleweight prospect and Sturm stablemate Mike Keta impressed the crowd in attendance with a second round technical knockout over Goekhan Kaya. Keta dropped his foe with a beautiful uppercut in the second. The referee called a halt to the fight after Keta connected with hard shots afterwards. He moves to 10-1 with 9 knockouts.
In a heavyweight battle, Adnan Redzovic easily defeated journeyman Werner Kreiskott by unanimous decision after six rounds. Redzovic is part of the Sturm Box-Promotion stable and improves to 4-0.
Middleweight Manuel Faisst had no trouble beating Torsten Roos by second round technical knockout. Faisst hurt Roos with a right hand and the follow-up barrage made the referee stop the action. Faisst moves to 4-0 with two stoppages.
In the opening bout at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, super middleweight Tiran Mkrschtjan won his professional debut against Roman Antzifero by four round unanimous decision. Scores were 39-37 across the board.