Controversy in Italy: Branco, Skelton and Lauri wins
By Miika Forsström: Super lightweight European titlefight between the defending champion Gianluca Branco (42-2-1, 22 KO´s) and Finnish challenger Juho Tolppola (21-5-1, 9 KOs) ended in a very controversial fashion. Tolppola dominated the early round and must had been ahead on the scorecards, when the fight was stopped in the 9th round due a swelling in the side of Tolppola´s head. Branco was ruled as the winner by technical knockout. The fight was stopped by an ITALIAN doctor and the referee Ian John-Lewis..
Article posted on 20.12.2008
"The swelling did not effect my vision or ability to box in any way. The swelling is in the side of my head. I felt that the referee was all the time in the Italian side. I boxed well and would had deserved the victory" Tolppola said after the bout.
Tolppola, 25, who was a huge underdog coming into the fight, started the bout very aggressively and dominated the early rounds. The 38-years old champion did well in the 4th round, but was dominated against in the 5th round. In the 6th round Tolppola rocked Branco with a huge right hook to the head. Branco had his best round in the 7th and might have nicked the 8th round as well. Tolppola did well in the 9th before the fight was suddenly stopped. Tolppola´s manager Pekka Mäki said that he will most likely make a protest of the doctors and referees decision to stop the fight.
England´s Matt Skelton (22-2, 19 KOs) stopped Paolo Vidoz (25-6, 14 KO´s and won the vacant European heavyweight title. Skelton was the busier and more effective boxer in the early rounds. In round 5-8 Vidoz gave everything he had and earned to win some rounds. Vidoz landed some good shots, but he was not able to hurt Skelton. In the 9th round Vidoz had given all he had and was exhausted. Vidoz had nothing left. Skelton did not want to punish his exhausted opponent and show´d the referee Robin Dolpierre to stop the bout. After the 9th round Vidoz was finally done and he did not come out for the 10th round.
European Boxing Union super lightweight champion Giuseppe Lauri (47-6, 28 KOs) stopped previously unbeaten Finnish challenger Ville Piispanen (12-1-1, 4 KOs) in the 6th round. Piispanen started the bout well and staggered the champion with a left hook in the opening round. Pretty soon Lauri´s superior experience and better conditioning started to show and he took over the fight. In the 5th round Lauri landed some good uppercuts that broke Piispanen´s nose. The bout was stopped in the 6th round due the injury.
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