Stieglitz defeats Abraham; Helenius decisions Sprott; Groves destroys Barakat
Robert Stieglitz is the new World Boxing Organization (WBO) Super-Middleweight Champion. The 31-year old won against former titleholder Arthur Abraham in front of 7,000 fans at the GETEC-Arena in Magdeburg, Germany by TKO in round four. Abraham suffered a heavy swollen left eye caused by a big right hand in round two which subsequently lead to the early ending of the championship bout.
Stieglitz started the fight very aggressive, forcing his opponent to hide behind his defense, who followed his usual recipe of picking and choosing his shots. Although the challenger was more active, it was Abraham who landed the cleaner shots at the beginning. Round two painted the same picture. It was obvious that both men had a game plan before entering the ring and were not willing to let the other one force his own tactics on to the fight. Midway through the second stint the two Germans exchanged some vicious blows. One of these, a heavy right by Stieglitz caused a bad swelling to Abraham´s left eye, which eventually led to the stoppage.
Even though Abraham could hardly see anything, he was not willing to give up his beloved WBO Crown without a fight and battled through round three, even landing some good punches toward the end of the round. But right after the break, the ringside physician took a close look at Abraham´s injury and advised referee Michael Ortega to end the fight, who stopped it immediately.
Right after the fight both men started talking about a third encounter between the two of them. “I am always ready and happy to give Arthur another chance”, said Stieglitz. Abraham agreed with the new champion. “Now the score between us is even. We need a third, all deciding fight.”
Manager Wilfried Sauerland also believes that Abraham vs. Stieglitz III is needed to find out who actually is the best. “Arthur lost because of an unfortunate injury. Therefore common decency would be to have another fight.”
Robert Helenius continued his successful comeback trail after his lengthy spell on the sideline due to a shoulder injury. The “Nordic Nightmare” beat Britain´s Michael Sprott by unanimous decision and still holds his perfect record of 19 wins out of as many fights.
Helenius, the WBO´s number one ranked heavyweight, was in control for most parts of the fight. The Finn kept his opponent at bay with his jab, taking full advantage of his superior height and reach. However, during the first few rounds the 29-year-old did not follow up with his powerful right hand. “My shoulder is completely fine now. The problem was that my right hand
started to hurt a little bit,” said Helenius. “It is probably also a mental thing that I didn’t use my right that often.”
However he did start to throw some combinations halfway through the fight and landed some very good left hooks. Although Sprott did put all on one card during the last stint, it was not enough to seriously trouble the prodigy of coach Ulli Wegner, who cemented his place at the top of the leaderboard of the World Boxing Organization. In the end the judges gave him the fight with scores of 98:93, 97:93 and 98:92.
George Groves once again showed his huge potential. The 24-year-old put on a classy performance against Baker Barakat from Syria. The British super-middleweight finished off his opponent after two minutes and 20 seconds of round two. A right power punch found its target and sent Barakat tumbling to the floor. He did manage to get back up, but Groves saw his window of opportunity opened and went straight back into attack mode as soon as the referee let the fight continue. Only a few punches later however, the bout was stopped. The man from Syria was not able to defend himself any
longer. Groves has now won all of his 18 professional fights and is still on target for a potential word title shot.