Following one of the best fights in recent years in Germany, Abass Baraou (9-1, 6 KOs) lost a controversial split decision to former World Champion Jack Culcay (29-4, 13 KOs) at the Harvel Studios in Berlin.
Despite the lack of fans allowed in the arena, the atmosphere was just as electric as the action between the ropes as Baraou used his speed and skill to land numerous heavy blows to the body and head.
Baraou was fighting under the tutelage of Adam Booth for the first time and the 25-year-old showcased ring generalship that belied his years as he consistently landed the thudding jab and dictated the pace of the fight with a constant supply of pressure.
The experienced ‘Golden Jack’ displayed his courage and grit as he soaked up Baraou’s attacks, before launching his own flurries in the back half of the fight. The 154lbs bout was billed as ‘Fight of the Year’ and it lived to it’s pre-fight hype as the two German contenders gave the fans a ferocious 12 rounds to remember.
Following a dramatic final round Baraou and his team celebrated as they were confident they had done enough to claim a career best victory but controversially Culcay was the victor with the judges scoring the bout (116-113, 113-115 and 114-115).
A clearly disappointed Baraou was defiant after the result.
“It was a great fight and I felt like I did enough to get the decision,” said Baraou. “I’m disappointed I didn’t get the victory but I know I will come back stronger.”
Following the contentious decision fans around the world took to social media to voice their disbelief at the result, a sentiment shared by Baraou’s stablemate, featherweight contender and Olympic bronze medalist Michael Conlan.
“What a fight Abass Baraou, you won that my brother!,” tweeted Conlan. “These are some messed up scorecards, run that back ASAP!”.
Nisse Sauerland, who has promoted Baraou since he turned professional, was in a defiant mood after the fight.
“Abass did himself, Team Sauerland and Germany proud tonight with that performance. He’s put in a phenomenal effort and he should have had his hand raised at the end of the night. I’m more confident than ever that Abass Baraou will become a World Champion.
“Jack is a great competitor and a true gentleman. I know that he knew he lost the fight. We will be back soon – the rematch is our main objective.”