The Super Six World Boxing Classic got off to a scintillating start in Europe on Saturday night. At the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham, England, hometown hero Carl “The Cobra” Froch defended his World Boxing Council (WBC) title against Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell of Flint, Michigan by split-decision. In Berlin, at the famed o2 World Arena, “King” Arthur Abraham treated his hometown fans to a spectacular final-round knockout victory of Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor.
Abraham-Taylor photos by Howard Schatz
Froch-Dirrell photos by Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
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Froch (26-0, 20 KOs) remained undefeated Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd when he handed Dirrell (19-0, 13 KOs) the first loss of his professional career. In a close fight all the way through, Froch received a leg up when referee Hector Afu took a point away from Dirrell for clinching after repeated warnings in the 10th round.
Dirrell and Froch continued to work and exchange through rounds 11 and 12, catching each other with solid jabs, although neither was really able to hurt the other. Kneeling together on the ground, the judges scores were read announcing Froch the split decision winner with scores of 115-112 twice for Froch and 113-114 for Dirrell.
Said Froch after the fight, “I definitely felt like I won from round 1 through round 12.” He went on to say “I’m not 100% satisfied because I like to feel like I won the fight and I feel like I could go in there another 12 rounds and still beat Dirrell.”
Froch earned two points for the win and will next face Mikkel Kessler in Group Stage 2.
Dirrell, who earned no points for his loss, spoke after the fight saying, “I worked my ass off. He came off strong in that last round but I boxed my ass off.” Dirrell continued, “I still don’t know why he (the referee) took the point from me. I don’t even remember a warning.”
Dirrell will next face Abraham. Said Dirrell, “Arthur is a warrior. He knows how to fight.”
In Berlin, Abraham was ahead on points on all three judges’ scorecards entering the 12th round. He ended Taylor’s night with a straight right hand that split the guard and dropped Taylor flat on his back. Taylor was counted out, making no attempt to get up, with just six seconds left.
“All the time I was trying to go for the knockout,” said Abraham, who earned two points for the win and one point for the KO. “I was waiting for the opportunity and it finally worked.
“It was a great fight, a great knockout. Taylor is a good fighter, but I am better,” Abraham concluded.
Taylor jabbed and maintained a high work rate throughout the fight, but was unable to land any effective, damaging punches with his right hand. He tried to work the body but strayed low on a few occasions. Taylor was penalized one point for a low blow in the sixth.
“I am a little hurt,” said Taylor after the fight, “but that comes with the territory. I was in the best shape of my life. He’s a very strong fighter. I give it up to him.” It was reported that Taylor went to the hospital and is being kept overnight for observation.
Abraham remains undefeated with 31 wins, 25 by knockout and will face Dirrell in Group Stage 2. Taylor drops to 28-4-1 (17 KOs) and will face Andre Ward next.
SHOWTIME Sports host and play-by-play man Gus Johnson hosted the telecast from Nottingham with analysts Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver at his side and Jim Gray ringside. Steve Albert handled play-by-play with analyst Steve Farhood in Berlin.
The Super Six World Boxing Classic continues with the third Group Stage 1 matchup of WBA World Champion Mikkel Kessler vs. Andre Ward, live on SHOWTIME, Saturday, Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
For more information on the Super Six World Boxing Classic, including exclusive videos, photography, expert analysis from Al Bernstein and Steve Farhood, and much more please visit www.WorldBoxingClassic.com.