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Kentikian defeats Sahin

Susi KentikianWIBF Women’s International Boxing Federation and WBA female flyweight champion Susi Kentikian (26-0, 16 KO’s) defeated Julia Sahin (20-1, 2 KO’s), handing Sahin her first loss on Saturday night in the process of picking up the vacant World Boxing Organization female flyweight title at the Stadthalle, Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

The final judges’ scores were 98-92, 96-94 and 97-93. Kentikian, 22, had problems with Sahin’s quick hands and power shots in the fight. It was surprising because Kentikian came into the fight being perceived by many to be the harder puncher of the two.

However, it was clear almost immediately that Sahin had the bigger power and was able to get Kentikian’s attention whenever she would land her punches. Kentikian’s gloves looked huge compared to her previous fights and she looked to be hoping to pick off Sahin’s fast power shots with it. As it turned out, the bigger gloves took away much, if not all, of Kentikian’s power and neutralized one of her biggest assets that she had going for her.

Instead of focusing on power shots, Kentikian used movement and high quantities of combinations to keep Sahin busy covering up. However, whenever Sahin would open up with her own offense, she was able to score with lancing shots to the head of Kentikian. But being a true warrior, Kentikian always answered back with flurries to try and make up what she had lost in getting tagged.

Sahin wasn’t able to keep up with Kentikian’s high work rate and she didn’t even try, instead preferring to cover up and occasionally fire off a meaningful shot. Kentikian controlled the first two rounds with her high work rate and movement. Sahin acted as if she didn’t feel it was safe to let her guard down and start punching, because she kept her gloves glued to her face for almost every second of both rounds.

As such, Kentikian was able to win the rounds almost by default because the 35-year-old Sahin basically gave them away by using her peek-a-boo defense and not letting her hands go enough. Kentikian landed four good punches in the third round in response to a lancing right hand from Sahin.

It the 4th round, Sahin finally opened up with a series of hard right hands to the head of Kentikian. It was a really good round for Sahin, as Kentikian did very little punching and spent most of the time running around the ring, trying to defend from getting hit.

Kentikian got busy again in the 5th round, throwing a lot of shots at Sahin and using a massive amount of in and out movement. The movement was quite effective and shutting down Sahin’s offense because she was unable to adapt to a moving target. Another problem for Sahin is that with her guard glued to her face, it made her less mobile and able to react to Kentikian’s swift attacks and fast combinations.

The only problem for Kentikian is that the constant movement quickly gassed her out, as she was in poor shape in the 6th round and unable to fight as had. Sahin controlled the 6th round with hard right hands, catching Kentikian over and over again. Sahin continued to fight well into the 7th, landing hard rights to the head of Kentikian as she would come running forward trying to land her combinations.

Kentikian looked rested in the 8th, and ready to continue with her fast moving attacks. She used a lot of angles against Sahin and got her out of position for attacks. Kentikian limited her punch output to two punches when she would come forward rather than four and five which she had been throwing.

The reason is obvious. Kentikian was leaving herself open for counter shots from Sahin and getting nailed when she would try to do too much. In the 9th and 10th rounds, Kentikian got the better of Sahin with her combos. Both rounds were very close as Sahin continued to land hard shots to the head of Kentikian. Sahin did especially well in the 10th when Kentikian stood toe-to-toe with her throwing flurries. I still had Kentikian winning by seven rounds to three, but it wasn’t one of Kentikian’s finer performances.

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