Hernandez defeats Cunningham; Alekseev and Gutknecht also win

Yoan Pablo Hernandez (26-1, 13 KOs) defended his International Boxing Federation (IBF) Cruiserweight Title with a spectacular points victory over Steve Cunningham (24-4, 12 KOs) in Frankfurt on Saturday night. The pattern was similar to their first meeting last October, with Cunningham fighting back after two knock-downs in the fourth round. After an exciting fight, Hernandez was ahead 116-110, 116-110 and 115-111 on the scorecards. “This is a big victory for me,” Hernandez said. “But I take my hat off to Steve, he is a great, great fighter and once again proved his world class. But our strategy worked today and I am very happy about the outcome.”

Hernandez got off to the better start, landing good shots in the first rounds, but Cunningham also connected with fast punches. In the fourth, a big left hook sent Cunningham down. He got back up – only to find himself on the floor straight away. He used all his experience and class to survive the round, which left him with a big cut above his right eye. “Steve´s courage was impressive,” coach Naazim Richardson praised. “Had I got hit by those shots, I would still be down. Not many fighters can recover from something like that. But Steve got back up, twice, and fought on. His courage is incredible.”

Hernandez tried to follow it up in the fifth round but Cunningham caught him with a big right as a bruising encounter developed. Both men proved their skills in the following in a back-and-forth clash. In the 12th, Hernandez landed some big shots again. “I congratulate Hernandez for the win tonight,” Cunningham said. “I fought hard and gave it my all. I know I'll will be back stronger than ever. There were two warriors in the ring tonight and this warrior still wants the belt back. Many thanks to my fans and God bless.”

Wilfried Sauerland was full of praise for both fighters. “This was a fantastic fight, one of the best on German soil in a long time,” he said. “Cunningham proved his class, as did Hernandez. This was a real treat for boxing fans. Hernandez was in the shape of his life, I have never seen him fighting better.” Coach Ulli Wegner was quick to agree. “I am very pleased with Pablo´s performance,” he stated. “He stuck to our plan. But I want to congratulate Cunningham. He was very impressive. How he recovered from those two knock-downs was amazing. Everybody knows he is a world-class fighter, one of the best out there. I am proud that Pablo defeated him tonight.”

The victory also gave Hernandez the vacant RING cruiserweight championship. Next up is the mandatory defence against Tory Ross (25-2, 16 KOs), who outpointed Lukas Rusiewicz (10-12, 3 KOs) on the undercard.

In the co-featured main event, Alexander Alekseev (23-2, 20 KOs) won the vacant European Cruiserweight Title with a clear points victory over former world-title challenger Enad Licina (21-4, 11 KOs). Eduard Gutknecht (23-1, 9 KOs) defended his European Light Heavyweight Title with a unanimous decision against Vyacheslav Uzelkov (25-2, 16 KOs). Polish cruiserweight star Mateusz Masternak (25-0, 19 KOs) also stopped Michael Simms (22-16, 14 KOs) in the fourth round.


With his induction to the International Boxing Hall of Fame already slated for June, Al Bernstein will now receive another honor in 2012. The Boxing Writers Association of America will present him with the Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award.

The award is presented as part of the BWAA’s annual awards. Past winners of the Good Guy Award include Alexis Arguello, George Foreman, Leroy Neiman, Don Dunphy and Gerry Cooney. In 1988 the BWAA presented Al with the Sam Taub Award, which is given annually for achievements by a broadcaster.

Bernstein said of this award: “This year is a special one for me, and it was made more special by the Boxing Writers and this award. I have tried to be a good chronicler and ambassador for the sport of boxing and this award speaks to that. Members of the BWAA are talented people who do a great job of informing the world about the sport of boxing, so an award from them is important to me.”


ALBANY, NY (February 5, 2012) Sports fans in Albany, New York turned out in droves on Saturday night as Star Boxing presented “KO AT THE TU” at the Times Union Center.

“We’re very pleased with the supportive crowd who saw some great fights and truly had an entertaining evening. Our next date here in Albany at the Times Union Center will be on Saturday, April 28th,” said Joe DeGuardia, President of Star Boxing.

In front of a loud and supportive crowd approaching 4,000 strong, heavyweight contender Joe “The Future “ Hanks defended his IBA Americas Title over monstrous Cuban Rafael Pedro.

The 28-year-old Hanks took the fight right at the 6’7” Pedro, pressuring the giant with piston like jabs and crunching body shots, easily winning the opening stanza.

The assault continued in the second round when the proceedings ended abruptly. With Pedro attempting to fend off Hanks, he fell to the canvas after attempting a right hook. Suffering from an apparent dislocated right shoulder, Pedro informed the referee he was unable to continue and the bout was stopped at the 0:48 mark of the round.

With the win, Hanks of Newark, New Jersey improved his perfect record to 19-0-0 with thirteen stoppages while Pedro fell to 21-10-1 (15KO’s).

In the co-main event, fans were treated to a fast-paced ten rounder between bantamweights Sahib Usarov of Moscow, Russia and Cuban 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Yan Barthelemy for the WBO Inter-Continental Title.

Fighting for the first time in the United States. Usarov took the fight right at the fellow southpaw. Utilizing excellent boxing skills, the Russian was able to score effectively with a piston like jab and sharp left hands, keeping the awkward Barthelemy at bay. Both fighters eyes were swollen by the end of the fight.

Scores at the end were tallied in Usarov’s favor, 98-91 and 96-93 twice. With the win Usarov improved his unbeaten record to 18-0-0 (6KO’s), while Barthelemy fell to 12-3-0 (4KO’s).

In a scheduled four round junior middleweight bout, son of former Mike Tyson trainer, Kevin “Kid” Rooney Jr. got back in the win column after a gruelling battle with the game Stanley “Chin Checker” Harvey of San Diego.

Fighting off the early aggression from Harvey, Rooney was quickly banging away at Harvey hurting him at various times over the four round scrap with hard shots from both hands, icing the victory with a brutal right hand that sent Harvey’s mouthpiece into the air in the fourth frame.

Winning by shutout scores of 40-36 on all three score cards, Rooney improved to 3-1-0 (1KO), while Harvey returned to California at 1-2 (1KO).

Highly regarded middleweight prospect Jason Escalera stayed unbeaten with a fourth round stoppage of Marcus Brooks in their crowd pleasing, scheduled eight rounder.

Dropping Brooks in the second with a crunching body shot, Escalera followed up with an additional knockdown of the stalking Columbia, South Carolina native in the third round.

The gutsy and aggressive Brooks stayed after the skilled Escalera but was dropped again in the fourth with a shot to the body, the bout being called to a halt at the 1:09 mark of the round.

Fighting out of Union City, New Jersey, Escalera improved to 13-0-0 with 12 knockouts while Brooks moved to 7-9-0 (3 KO’s).

In front of a large, loud and proud gathering of supporters, Schenectady’s Bryan ‘The Brick” Abraham upset Darnell Jiles of Rochester, New York in their junior welterweight bout scheduled for six.

Displaying superior technique, Jiles controlled the early action with his advantage in speed and blistering counter shots. However, the game Abraham kept after the southpaw with hard right hooks.

Trading heavily much to the crowds delight towards the end of the round, Abraham drilled Jiles to the canvas with three brutal right hooks, the bout being stopped at the time of 2:59.

The knockout raised Abraham’s record to 6-10-2 (6KO’s) while Jiles turned to 8-3-1 (3KO’s).

In the opening bout of the evening, pro debuting Albany native, Mike Seitz turned back the wildly aggressive Karim Richardson of Brooklyn, New York, dropping the fellow pro debuter to the canvas in the first round with a powerful left hook which halted the action at the 2:00 mark of their light heavyweight bout.

Article posted on 06.02.2012

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