Arthur Abraham was forced to push hard to secure his WBO super-middleweight title belt as challenger Nikola Sjekloca threatened to pull away into the second half of their Berlin clash.
Predictably, 33 year-old Abraham began slowly, losing many of the first six rounds and seemed gun-shy as Sjekloca opened up on the German as he back away in an attempt to figure out the rangy Montenegrin.
At the halfway stage Sjekloca was ahead on my scorecard, which may have also been the case for Team Abraham as the champion then began to establish himself into the fight from round eight. Hampered by an injured hand, which may have broken around the fourth round, Abraham bravely fought on and threw shots with the ailment as Sjekloca ran out of steam.
The last five rounds all went to Abraham on my live card, with my final score reading 115-113 to mark a 40th career victory for the home boxer. Two of the judges agreed for the most part as the handed in 116-112 and 116-113 cards respectively, although how Russian judge Vitkor Panin scored it 119-110 to Abraham will sadly remain a mystery.
Panin should be made to explain how he reached that incredible score as Abraham hardly threw a punch in the early rounds, but somehow won by a canter on the 51 year-old’s official scorecard.
Also on the bill, there were first round stoppage wins for Timo Schwarzkopf, Burak Sahin and Dennis Ceylan who remain undefeated, whilst there was a shock for former European light-heavyweight champion Eduard Gutkneckt as he could only draw with 3-3-2 Argentine novice Pablo Sosa.
In the co-feature, Noel Gevor dominated Gogita Gorgiladze over ten rounds to improve to 11-0. The scores read 100-90 rightly on two cards, with the hapless Panin once again scoring different in giving Gorgiladze an undeserved round.
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