Drews Decisions Branco to win WBA light heavyweight title

28.04.07 - By Fritz Drexel: Light heavyweight Stipe Drews (32-1, 13 KO's) defeated WBA light heavyweight champion Silvo Branco (55-9-2, 34 KO's), winning a 12-round unanimous decision on Saturday night in Oberhausen, Germany. Branco, 40, who had recently won the the vacant WBA light heavyweight title in a 12-round decision over Manny Siaca, was no match for the 6'5" Drews, whose fighting style closely resembled that of Wladimir Klitschko, a former Universum fighter, only without his awesome power. From the very start, Branco, 6'0", had trouble reaching Drews, often missing badly each time he got within range of the towering Drews..

stipe drewsDrews controlled the action, for the most part, with his long jab, excellent foot movement and the use of the clinch, preventing Branco from doing much. The two fighters had previously fought in 2003, fighting for the vacant EBU light heavyweight title, with Drews winning by unanimous decision at that time as well. Drews, 33, formerly a native of Croatia - now living in Germany - looked next to unbeatable in the early rounds, jabbing Branco at will, and landing beautiful left-right combinations that prevented Branco from getting in close.

Whenever Branco would get in range, Drews would either tie him, or move away to the side, keeping Branco at bay and preventing him from landing consistently. Though Drews was mostly throwing jabs, it wasn't a boring fight, like some of the well known fighters that rely on their jabs exclusively, mostly because Drews would mix in right hands and left hooks every now and then to keep it interesting. Plus, the ring movement he showed was nothing short of extraordinary, particularly because it was coming from such a tall fighter like the 6'5" Drews.

In the sixth and seventh round, Drews appeared to slow down, which allowed Branco to land hard shots, and turn the fight close. However, in between rounds, Drew's trainer urged him on, slapping him a number of times to get him back on track with his previous game plan. Starting in the 8th, Drews seemed to get his second wind, allowing him recoup his composure and dominate the last four rounds, looking as energized as he had in the first half of the fight. Branco, for his part, chased Drews around during the last four rounds, throwing wild shots, mostly missing, and getting hit constantly with jabs. The final judges's scores were 116-113, 116-112, and 115-113, for Drews.

With his height and long reach, Drews would be a tough opponent for any of the light heavyweights in the division, although his lack of power would be a problem area for him against top light heavyweights like Tarver, Chad Dawson, and Roy Jones jr. However, his jab and long arms, making it tough to get near him, and even when a fighter gets in close, he ties them up in a clinch, much in the same way that Wladimir Klitschko does. Like previously mentioned, he resembles Wladimir when fighting and is very smooth on his feet, constantly moving while throwing jabs.

Article posted on 29.04.2007

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