The APB World Championship Matches series finished in spectacular fashion on Tuesday night in Hamburg, Germany when Mihai Nistor (ROU) stopped Erik Pfeifer (GER) to become the new APB Super Heavyweight (91+ kg) Champion.
Nistor was the very first man in APB history to win a match in this competition, and added to his legendary status by winning his first title away from home in Pfeifer’s own country.
Pfeifer had never previously lost in APB and also defeated Nistor last year, and he controlled the opening three rounds of their rematch in efficient fashion.
The 28-year-old boxed with intensity on the back foot, while he avoided Nistor’s frequent power shots with consummate ease.
Things began to change in the fourth round when Nistor began to hit Pfeifer with more regularity, and though the former Champion resumed his lead in the fifth and sixth rounds, he seemed vulnerable to the hooks of the Romanian.
Nistor spoke in the build-up of his intent to reduce the advantage of Pfeifer’s movement, and his tactics began to prove successful in the seventh and eighth rounds when his energy levels began to overwhelm the German.
The crescendo climaxed midway through round nine when a ferocious left hook from Nistor dropped his taller rival to the canvas.
Although Pfeifer courageously made his way back to his feet before the referee’s count had been completed, he was unable to continue due to the effect of the punch.
An emotional Nistor immediately celebrated his TKO victory, and he was awarded the Super Heavyweight title belt following his triumph.
Artem Harutyunyan is the hero of Hamburg after beating Armen Zakaryan to become APB Light Welterweight Champion
Artem Harutyunyan (GER) became the new the new APB Light Welterweight (64 kg) Champion on Tuesday night when he defeated Armen Zakaryan (RUS) by the narrowest of margins.
Fighting in front of a hugely supportive audience in Hamburg, Harutyunyan was awarded the victory by split decision after 12 rounds of intense action.
Zakaryan had previously defeated the German twice in this competition and had only dropped two rounds in his APB career, but was surprisingly sluggish in the opening rounds.
Harutyunyan controlled the early action, where his fast left hands and creative body shots troubled the former Champion.
All of the first four rounds were awarded to Harutyunyan, who had clearly learnt from his earlier two defeats to Zakaryan.
The Russian star rallied in the fifth round however, and also claimed the seventh frame as a result of his improved timing.
Although Harutyunyan dug deep to win the eighth round to quell the momentum from his opponent, from the ninth frame onwards the bout took a very different turn.
Zakaryan’s stamina was superior, and he controlled the penultimate three rounds of the contest with plenty of aggression and versatility in his shots.
With just one round to go, either man could still win the contest, but clearly inspired by the tremendous level of support at ringside, Harutyunyan produced an inspired final three minutes to ultimately secure a famous victory.
Surrounded by his friends and family, plus AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu and German Boxing Federation President Jurgen Kyas, Harutyunyan was awarded the prestigious APB Light Welterweight bout following his triumph.