Felix Sturm is still the WBA ‘super’ middleweight champion after another close fight in his homeland as the judges in Germany scored his title defence against Britain’s Martin Murray a draw at the SAP-Arena.
The 32 year-old commanded the centre of the ring in the first two rounds whilst Murray fought in bursts to keep the German on his toes throughout the first six minutes in a tense start.
Murray then began walking through some of Sturm’s better work to gain a foothold in the fight through the middle rounds and was never out of the fight as Sturm battled to keep the challenger at bay.
After the mid-point, Murray, 29, seemed to continually press the title holder although was kept off by Sturm’s world-class jab. The Mancunian was never flustered or frustrated by the more rounded champion though and was fresh enough to come on strong in rounds ten and eleven.
Sturm sensing the bout maybe close came out firing in at the start of the twelfth but soon fell into a lull and allowed Murray back in only to then return fire a barrage of shots similar to ending of the Macklin fight and possibly take the last round.
The judges’ scorecards read 116-112 to Sturm and 115-113 to Murray with the third seeing it 114-114 to hand ‘Leonidas’ his 36th career win and his world title belt back for the twelfth time – the second in a draw.
I saw the bout the same as Jean-Francois Toupin who gave it to Sturm as the classier work in the closer rounds seem to come from the home fighter, but take nothing away from the British champion though as he fully deserves a return bout.