Boxing

Felix Sturm Stops A Game Sebastian Zbik At End Of 9th-Round, Retains WBA middleweight Crown

By James Slater: Tonight in Cologne, Germany, in a bitter grudge-match that was given the tagline “Bad Blood,” Felix Sturm successfully retained his WBA middleweight title with a highly impressive stoppage of a very game Sebastian Zbik.

The ending came at the conclusion of the 9th-round, as the corner of Zbik saw that their man was taking too much punishment and threw in the towel. 33-year-old Sturm is now 37-2-2(16). 30-year-old Zbik, a former WBC interim champ, is now 31-2(10).

Sporting a black left eye as he entered the ring, Sturm proceeded to overcome a slow start and then put on one of his best performances in quite some time. Zbik, showing very fast hands, swept the opening two rounds and maybe had a claim to the 3rd-round also. Sturm looked a little shocked in the early going, being caught by the fast, accurate bursts of his countryman.

Even appearing a touch gun-shy, Sturm finally got going in the 3rd and 4th; his famed left jab starting to put Zbik in his place. Sturm’s right hand to the head and also some body work also began to take their toll on the younger man.

There was some great toe-to-toe action in the 5th - the fight having a pretty torrid pace all the way through - and now Zbik’s left eye was swollen, above and below the eye. A sharp right uppercut to the head snapped Zbik’s head back here in the 5th, and soon another right uppercut landed. More left jabs came in from Sturm and Zbik was hurt at the bell. An exciting round.

A left jab and a left uppercut scored by Sturm at the start of the 6th, and the difference in power between the two was really beginning to show. Some more right hands got home for the champ, but it was his left jab that was really shining. One of the best jabs in all of boxing, Sturm’s left hand was fast, accurate and heavy tonight. Sturm was in almost complete control of the fight by now.

Zbik, showing plenty of heart, launched a good attack in the 7th, but Sturm’s left jab was soon back in charge. Yet more right hands came in from the WBA ruler, as well as a left uppercut to the head. Sturm had not lost a round in a very long time and Zbik, marked up around both eyes, was beginning to look discouraged.

A hard right hand followed by a right uppercut landed for Sturm in the 8th and despite Zbik trying his best to fire back, it was fast becoming a one-sided affair. Sturm was the boss by now, landing more jabs and rights.

Sturm drove Zbik back with his sickening jab in the 9th, stinging his man with rights also. Zbik was now back-pedalling and the huge crowd booed. Sturm landed two hard right hands to the head at the bell. And then in came the towel from Team-Zbik.

Sturm, who was deemed fortunate to have retained his belt via a points win over Matthew Macklin and a draw against another Brit in Martin Murray, looked as good as he’s ever looked tonight. It’s clear there is a fair amount left yet in the tank of the long-reigning 33-year-old. Sturm has not lost since way back in the summer of 2006, and tonight he stopped a man who had never been halted before.

Who will Sturm defend against next? Both Macklin and Murray are fully deserving of a return shot.

In other action on the card:

Maurice Weber TKO 2 Andrei Dolhozhyieu
Adnan Redzovic KO 1 Aliaksandr Makaranka
Mike Keta KO 2 Uladzislau Mahdanau
Denis Boytsov UD 10 Dominic Guinn

Article posted on 14.04.2012



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