By Alexey Sukachev
WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (27-1, 20 KOs) scored a close twelve round unanimous decision over interim champ Ola Afolabi (14-2-3, 6 KOs) at the Ludwigsburg Arena, in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Scores were 115-113, 115-113, 116-112 for Huck who often hammered Afolabi on the ropes and was generally the aggressor.
In the co-feature, IBF mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin (18-0, 13 KOs) ripped apart Leo Nolan (27-2, 10 KOs) in an impressive three round demolition.
Huck started the battle aggressively, trying to press his elusive and defense-minded opponent. However, no significant punches were thrown in the first round, though the “full” champion dominated the initial stint with his overall activity. Huck delivered even more heat to his foe in the second but Afolabi, who was spending his time at the ropes, inviting the local hero for more actions, connected with some powerful uppercuts too. In the third round, Huck changed his tactics and tried to lure Afolabi from his defensive shell. He was successful in doing so, forcing some heated exchanges in the center of the ring. The pitched battle continued in round four, as the Nigerian “interim” champion proved as bit as tough as his opponent. Round five was a huge one for the guest fighter, who rocked Huck several times, starting from the right uppercut, at the end of the round. The sixth stanza saw Huck coming back with zeal and throwing back much more than beforehand. As the bout progressed, Afolabi had his moments but Huck was all business in the bout while Afolabi’s clowning may have hurt him.
Top Russian heavyweight and IBF mandatory challenger for Wladimir Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin (18-0, 13 KOs) proved both his high contender status and the IBF #1, WBO #2 and WBC #3 ranks with a dominant win over old and pudgy American Leo Nolan (27-2, 10 KOs), who suffered the first stoppage loss in his whole career. Povetkin was sharp since the outset and was putting more and more charge in his attack with each spent minute. Guided by famous Teddy Atlas for the first time as a pro, Povetkin used fast, multi-punch combinations to penetrate through Nolan’s block and to score numerously, while the American was making his steps back with short and crisp power hooks. In round three, the beatdown became notably one-sided as Nolan found no safety anywhere inside the ring and was taking more and more punishment. At last he was floored at the ropes after powerful combo by Povetkin and was stopped moments later after a pair of chilling hooks of the favorite. Time was 2:33 of the third round.
Germany based Italian heavyweight Francesco Pianeta (20-0-1, 13 KOs) scored his milestone win in a workmanlike fashion. Pianeta tried hard but was unable to stop behemoth-sized Russian Evgueny Orlov (10-6-1, 7 KOs), who stands 6’9” and is pretty much durable. Scores were 80-72 (twice) and 80-73 – for the German fighter.
German middleweight hope Dominik Britsch (17-0, 6 KOs) moved on with the second successful defence of his IBF Youth 160lb title. Britsch used his superior technique and boxing school to break down Brazilian Cleber Argente Alves (7-3, 6 KOs) in methodical yet brutal fashion. The German prospect scored numerously and gave Cleber no spots for his wide shots. Cleber was wobbled several times, was knocked down with the liver punch and was getting some merciless punishment in the corner, when the fight was stopped at 2:44 of the fifth round.
Kazakh-born German cruiserweight Artur Hein is now 11-0, 6 KOs, following an easy destruction of overmatched Serbian Mile Nikolic (3-4, 2 KOs). After the tedious first round, Hein began to inflict damage in the second. Nikolic was wobbled several times in the third after fierce attacks by Hein and he was also given a standing eight count at the end of the third after a huge left hook to the liver by Hein. The fight was finally stopped late in round four after another powerful body shot which almost doubled the Serbian fighter and put him down in pain. Nikolic beat the count but was in no condition to continue.
Red hot heavyweight prospect Kubrat Pulev (4-0, 2 KOs) was forced to deliver his A-game against much smaller but fiercely awkward American journeyman Zack Page (19-26-2, 7 KOs). The guest fighter used his vast arsenal of various tricks, shifts and elusiveness to frustrate the Bulgarian but was too passive and inactive to give him real troubles. Taking part in his fourth contest as a pro, Pulev presented an honorable ring mastership and dominated much more experienced Page in later rounds to score an unanimous decision over six rounds.
Former amateur champion of the world (1999 Houston) Michael Simms (21-12-2, 13 KOs) turned the time machine on and presented gleams of his better days during a minor upset over German prospect Martin Kempf (12-2-1, 5 KOs). Kempf took the first two rounds because of Simms’ obvious desire to study his opponent. In round three, the American fighter started to deliver more and more bombs with each minute passing. In round five, he rocked Kempf numerously with hard left and right uppercuts and he was also able to finish this eight-rounder strong, making Kempf miss much in return while taging him ofter from different angles. All three judges awarded the bout to the 35-year old veteran with the same scores – 77:75.
Cruiserweight prospect Lukas Schulz (4-0, 2 KOs) scored a hard-fought unanimous decision over unheralded Marcel Erler (7-8-1, 4 KOs) in six tough rounds. Erler gave all he could give and delivered a rough game to Schulz. Both fighters went down during the fight.