Alan Dawson – London
Marco Huck may have made a tenth successful defence of his WBO cruiserweight world title by obtaining an official win over challenger and fellow German, Firat Arslan, on Saturday, November 3 in Halle, but the champion failed to win over the crowd who booed the decision. On the same night, Lucian Bute got back to winning ways by outpointing Denis Grachev in Montreal, Quebec.
At the Gerry Weber Stadium stadium in the Nordrhein-Westfalen state in Germany, Huck (35-2-1, 25ko) seemingly had no answer for Arslan’s left uppercut, which he continually landed with aplomb for the majority of the early and middle rounds. In retaliation, Huck’s cannonry mostly cushioned off of Firat’s guard.
It was only until the latter stages in the argument where defending champ Huck – 15 years younger than his adversary – had his say and may have edged rounds ten to 12 on sheer activity alone.
But, when the scorecards were revealed – 115-113, 115-113 and, astonishingly, 117-111 – Arslan’s trainer Dieter Witmann failed to hide his anger, branding it “the biggest scam I have ever seen” and a “disgrace”.
Arslan (32-6-2, 21ko) agreed: “I’ve never experienced anything like this decision. I’ve seldom landed so many clean punches and he only scuffed me,” the veteran southpaw and former 200lb titlist was quoted to have said by Eurosport. “How can such a thing happen? This kind of thing is ruining boxing.
“I landed so many punches. I think the whole crowd believes I’m the winner. I’ve been robbed of my win. I would have been the new world champion today, I would have written history.”
Huck, showing defiance in defeat, said: “I think I landed more punches.”
In Canada four hours later, former IBF super middleweight ruler Bute (31-1-0, 24ko) boxed his way to a unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated Grachev (12-1-1, 8ko) and, in so doing, kept his case for a contractual rematch with his only conqueror – Carl Froch – in tact for the new year.
While Grachev was an unbeaten fast-rising contender with a good-looking win over Ismayl Sillakh on his resume, he remained a 9-1 underdog heading into fisticuffs with hometown favourite Bute. However, when leather was traded on fight night, a more competitive bout than anticipated ensued. Bute controlled the fight when the southpaw fought from distance and scored well with his jab and uppercut, however, he showed a vulnerability when Grachev backed him up onto the ropes during the contest’s midway point.
The 118-110 score granted to Bute appeared generous, with the two scores of 116-112 and 115-113 more on point but, regardless of winning margin, Lucian was buoyant in victory. “I’m very happy with my performance against a very tough opponent,” he said, as reported by The Montreal Gazette. “I took some shots, but he was very aggressive. It was a good experience for me.”
The defeated party was aggrieved post-fight and claimed the judging to be “unfair”. Grachev said: “Maybe I lost three or four rounds.”
With the win, Bute added the NABF light heavyweight belt to his honours roll. He will now wait on the result of Froch’s fight with Yusaf Mack on November 17 to find out whether his shot at redemption will go ahead as planned.
Video credit: Marc Abrams
Former IBF super middleweight belt holder Lucian Bute and undefeated up-and-comer Denis Grachev collide later tonight, November 3, at the Bell Centre in Quebec, Canada, with the NABF title at 175lbs on the line. Both fighters made weight yesterday (video embedded below) for a bout that will be contested at a 17olb catchweight. The light heavyweight showdown tops a Montreal card that also features a 175lb tussle between Renan St Juste and Allan Green.
On The Beak – Admin
On April 27, undefeated light heavyweight contenders Ismayl Sillakh (17-0-0, 14ko) and Denis ‘The Pirate’ Grachev (11-0-1, 7ko) will meet in the ten round main event on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights (FNF) at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Sillakh of California has won his last two fights by knockout. A victory Friday, will position him to fight the winner of Bernard Hopkins v Chad Dawson II.
In March 2011, Sillakh won a ten round decision against previously undefeated 2004 Cuban Olympian Yordanis Despaigne on FNF. His manager Ivaylo Gotsev said: “When you watch Ismayl float through the ring, you just can’t help but be reminded of Muhammad Ali… he floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.
“He’s like this reincarnation of these old fighters that were so pretty to watch and had the passion for it. He loves what he’s doing and has an incredible passion for this sport.”
California’s Grachev, a former professional kick boxer, has won his last three fights, two against previously undefeated fighters. Grachev said of Friday’s fight: “I know a lot about Sillakh. He’s a good, good fighter – strong, big amateur background. He’s very good in his pro career, but I’m going to break him.”
In the co-feature, undefeated junior lightweights Yaundale ‘Money Shot’ Evans (16-0-0, 12ko) and Javier ‘El Abejon’ Fortuna (18-0-0, 13ko) will meet in the ten rounder. Evans, of Cleveland, is coming off a third-round TKO win over Andres Ledesma, while Fortuna of California won a 10-round unanimous decision over Miguel Roman in his last fight.
The following week, five promising boxers – four of whom are unbeaten – make their debuts on ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, May 11 at Texas Station Gambling Hall and Hotel in Las Vegas. Former Cuban amateur standout and 2004 Olympian, junior middleweight Yudel Jhonson (12-0-0, 8ko), and six-time Swedish national champion and 2008 Olympian, super middleweight Badou Jack (10-0-0, 8ko), head up a strong contingent of talented, undefeated newcomers on a telecast that also includes power-punching super middleweight Alexander Brand (17-0-0, 15ko) and skilled lightweight Rances Barthelemy (15-0-0, 11ko).
The southpaw Jhonson, of Miami, Florida, faces former world title challenger Freddy ‘El Riel’ Hernandez (30-2-0, 20ko), of Mexico City, in the ten round junior middleweight main event. Hernandez, who is coming off a unanimous ten round decision over ex-world champion Luis Collazo, will be making his fourth start on ShoBox.
Unbeaten super middleweights Jack and Brand clash in the eight-round co-feature. Jack, of Las Vegas, by way of Stockholm, Sweden, is a former sparring partner of Floyd Mayweather and Andre Dirrell. Brand, of Bogota, Colombia, is the longest tenured boxer in the history of the Colombian Olympic team with 437 fights as an amateur.
In the opener of a televised tripleheader, Barthelemy, of Havana, Cuba, meets southpaw Aalan Martinez (10-1-1, 6ko), of East Los Angeles, via Michoacan, Mexico, in an eight round lightweight bout.
Jhonson was the Pan American Junior Champion at light fly in 1998 and the Cuban National Champion at welterweight in 2002 before capturing a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. Overall, he went 379-16 in the amateurs while winning numerous titles. He turned pro on May 22, 2009, shortly after he’d defected to the United States with fellow Cubans Yordanis Despaigne and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
The 5-foot-10, 30-year-old Jhonson fought four times in 2009, five times in 2010, and three times in 2011. He is coming off a third-round TKO over Eduardo Mercedes last Oct. 15 in the Dominican Republic. Jhonson registered a career-best seventh-round TKO over Richard Gutierrez on March 25, 2011. The following June 3, Jhonson won a 10-round decision over Jose Torres.
The vastly more experienced Hernandez is 3-0 on ShoBox. Two of the victories came against former world champions in back-to-back fights in 2010 – a fourth-round TKO over Mike Anchondo on September 17 and a fifth-round knockout over DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley on February 5. In his ShoBox debut on October 23, 2009, Hernandez registered a unanimous ten round decision over southpaw Damian Frias.
The 5-foot-10, 33-year-old Hernandez, a pro since February 2001, has performed well in three of his last four outings. On October 15, he dropped Collazo in the eighth to win by the score of 96-93 on the three judges’ cards. Hernandez’ only defeat since losing a split 12 round decision to Golden Johnson on Feb. 25, 2005, came when he stepped way up in class and lost to then-world champion Andre Berto in November, 2010.
In the co-feature, Jack, who trains at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, will be making his sixth consecutive start in the US. His initial five fights after turning pro on June 6, 2009, took place in Sweden or Finland. The 6-foot-1, 28-year-old Jack started boxing at age 18. He went 122-28 as an amateur and represented his father’s country, Gambia, in the Olympics. He is the only boxer to represent Gambia in any Olympic Games.
Regarding his upcoming scrap, Jack said: “Both of us are big punchers. It’s going to be an exciting fight for the crowd. I like to go to the body a lot, that’s one of my biggest weapons. I’ll be ready for him.”
In Brand’s amateur career, he went 417-20. Brand, 35, turned pro at the age of 32 on August 9, 2009. Campaigning exclusively in Colombia, he won his first 12 professional fights by (T)KO. This will be his second outing in the US. In his stateside debut, Brand won a unanimous six-round decision over Terrance Woods last November, in Las Vegas.
Brand, who’s fought twice in 2012, is coming off a fifth-round knockout over Luzimar Gonzaga last March 30, in Cartagena, Colombia. Meanwhile, Barthelemy, 25, is a 5-foot-11 crowd-pleasing puncher-boxer who won his last start with an impressive eight-round unanimous decision over former top amateur star and then-unbeaten pro, Hylon Williams, on February 3, in Las Vegas.
Boxing’s in Barthelemy’s blood. Two of his siblings are also prizefighters — older brother Yan, the 2004 Olympic Gold medalist at light flyweight, and younger brother, Leduan. Their cousin is longtime pro, Giorbis Barthelemy.
Rances started to box at an early age: “As a child in Cuba, I had a lot of discipline problems in school and I was always getting into fights,” he said. “I was diagnosed as being hyperactive. So the school’s personnel took it upon themselves to place me in their sports curriculum and I was selected for the boxing program. I’ve been fighting since.”
Nicknamed ‘Kid Blast,’ the fast-rising Barthelemy had an impressive amateur career, winning the majority of his 200 fights and earning the Cuban junior national championship before defecting to the US. He turned pro on August 8, 2009, in Columbia, SC. The confident Cuban scored knockouts in his first 12 fights, but has gone the distance in two of the last three.
Martinez rebounded from the lone defeat of his career to knock out Ronald Rodriguez in the third round last December 16, in Vernon, California. After the 5-foot-9, 28-year-old Martinez won his pro debut in October 2004, he fought just one time in both 2005 and 2006. After three fights in two and a half years, he didn’t fight again for four and a half years. But the southpaw slugger has been much more active since, fighting three times in ’09, four times in 2010, and twice in 2011.
Martinez’ only loss came when he came up short in a competitive matchup against Evgeny Gradovich on April 29, 2011, in Las Vegas. Martinez lost a six-rounder by the scores of 58-56 and 59-55 twice.
The event is promoted by Warriors Boxing.