IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (29-1, 14 KOs) successfully defended his title tonight in defeating 43-year-old former WBA cruiserweight champion Firat Arslan (34-8-2, 21 KOs) by a 12 round split decision at the Messehalle, Erfurt, Thüringen, Germany. The final judges’ scores were 115-113, 116-113 for Hernandez and 115-113 for Arslan.
Hernandez took most of the early rounds by being busier and landing the cleaner shots. Arslan constantly crowded Hernandez in the first half of the fight, throwing hard upper cuts to the head and hard body shots. Arslan’s problem was he didn’t throw enough shots in many of the rounds. The opening were there for Arslan, especially to the body, but he wasn’t throwing enough shots. Hernandez was able to throw pitty pat shots and accumulate rounds.
By the 7th, Arslan’s right ear was swelling up with blood from the many shots that Hernandez landed to the side of his head. It was the only area where Hernandez could land his shots due to Arslan keeping his guard in front of his face.
Arslan changed his tactics in round 9 in staying on the outside and coming forward to throw hard shots. It’s the same kind of fighting style that WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck used against Arslan in their two fights. Arslan’s in and out style worked well against Hernandez, as he was able to get the better of the him. Hernandez was very tired in the last 4 rounds. In the 11th and 12th, Hernandez clinched frequently in trying to shut down Arslan’s attacks.
Overall, it was a decent fight. Hernandez looked lazy throughout and hardly impressive. Had it been a younger cruiserweight with speed and power like Thabiso Mchunu, Hernandez likely would have knocked out. Hernandez would have major problems against other cruiserweights like Krzystof Wlodarczyk, Denis Lebedev, Rakhim Chakhkiev and Ola Afolabi. I believe all of those fighters would have beaten Hernandez tonight.
Other boxing results on the card:
Tyron Zeuge TKO 9 Baker Barakat
Noel Gevor UD 8 Ismail Abdoul
Dennis Ceylan SD 8 Cristian Montilla
Stefan Haertel UD 6 Olegs Fedotovs
Abel Gevor UD 6 Attila Palko