There is a new World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Cruiserweight Champion after local star Taylor Mabika dethroned defending champion Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf from Algeria on Saturday night at the Stade de l´Amitié in Libreville, Gabon.
The hungry challenger and the determined champion both showed incredible courage and will-power in what turned out to be a wild war, with both men having their moments and at times appearing on the verge of gaining or losing real momentum.
The fight reached the final bell with a lively crowd on their feet in appreciation of both boxers, and after a very close encounter the local man, based in Luxembourg and only fighting in his birth-country for the fifth time, was crowned as new world champion by way of split decision.
With several rounds close enough to go either way, judges Bertrand Chagnoux and Toni Tiberi scored the fight 116-113 and 117-112 respectively for Mabika, now 16-2-1 (9), while judge Darryl Ribbink saw it as 116-114 for Benmakhlouf, who drops to 22-5-1 (12). Referee was Vincent Dupas.
Also on Saturday night, WBF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Samir Nebo retained his title for the first time in Torgau, Germany when Davit Gorgiladze from Georgia retired on his stool after round four, making the German power-puncher the winner by fifth round technical knockout.
35-year-old Nebo improved his professional ledger to 9-1-1 (9), and Gorgiladze, challenging for his first championship, falls to 11-3 (9).