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Hernandez defeats Cunningham, captures IBF cruiserweight title

Sebastian Sylvester Steve Cunningham Yoan Pablo HernandezBy Jason Kim: WBA interim cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (25-1, 13 KO’s) defeated IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham(24-3, 12 KO’s) by a controversial 6th round technical decision on Saturday night to capture Cunningham’s International Boxing Federation title at the Jahnsportforum, Neubrandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

The judges scored it 58-55, 59-54 and 58-57. I think it’s pretty clear that the 26-year-old Hernandez did enough to win the fight, as he dropped Cunningham with a hard left hook in the 1st round where the referee Mickey Vann seemed to wait a little long before he started to count. Cunningham, badly hurt, attempted to get up and collapsed on the canvas.

In a lot of cases, the referee would have stopped the fight right then and there. However, Vann allowed it to continue when a still staggering Cunningham made it back to his feet. Hernandez flurried on Cunningham for the remaining seconds of the round but was unable to take him out.

Instead of going after Cunningham in the 2nd round, Hernandez boxed him from the outside using his jab and mostly single shots to win the round. Cunningham came roaring back in the 3rd where he landed some big right hand shots against a now timid looking Hernandez. In the 4th, Hernandez was cut over his left eye from a headbutt.

It was a very close round, but I had Hernandez winning it with some of his combinations. In the 5th, Cunningham came back and looked good in stalking Hernandez around the ring and blasting him with big shots. In the 6th, Hernandez was cut again, this time over the right eye from another headbutt. The new cut led to the fight being halted after the round had ended. The 6th was a close round which could have gone either way.

Cunningham looked to be the stronger fighter at the time the fight was stopped. He was stalking Hernandez and seemed to be wearing the younger fighter down. Hernandez had the tools to possibly hurt Cunningham again, but he just wouldn’t use them. One had the sense that if Hernandez were to have really gone after Cunningham with a prolonged attack, he would have been able to get him out of there. However, Hernandez looked almost afraid from the 2nd round on and wasn’t really impressive.

In other action on the card:

Grzegorz Proksa RTD 3 Sebastian Sylvester


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