At the huge and ancient Amphitheater of Pula, Croatia â€“ built between 100 and 400 A.D. by the Roman Empire â€“ principals Felix Sturm and Stipe Drews fulfilled the expectations set on them as being the favorites on this event promoted by Germany’s Universum Box-Promotion.
In front of 6.000 excited open air spectators in one of the most popular holiday resorts at the Adriatic Sea former WBO middleweight champion Felix Sturm defeated Spanish champion Jorge Sendra whereas former European light heavyweight champion and local hero Stipe Drews gained the upper hand over Omar Eduardo Gonzalez from Argentina. Both fights were billed as WBO intercontinental championships and they both went the full distance of twelve rounds.
Sturm dominated Sendra early on in a highly action packed contest. The former WBO champion displayed beautiful technique combined with power and rocked his restless challenger many times by landing punches from different angles.
>From round ten on Sturm, however, lowered the pace, avoided situations were Sendra wanted to trade punches, and expanded his early lead by scoring with his jab. After twelve rounds the judges score the contest 119:109, 118:110 and 118:110, all in favor of Sturm.
Felix Sturm upped his record to 24-1 with 12 knockouts. His single loss came against Oscar de la Hoya on June 5, 2004, in Las Vegas. The result is regarded as hightly controversial among boxing experts.
â€žI want to be the new king of the middlewieght division. From now on I want to perform strong in every fight”, Sturm said. “There is no way to stop me. I’m the strongest Sturm of all times.”
Sendra dropped to 28-3-1 with 19 knockouts. Even though he lost to Sturm he can keep his Spanish championship belt as this title wasn’t on the line against his German opponent. The fight between him and Sturm was a WBA world title eliminator and a WBO intercontinental championship.
With his victory Sturm secured himself the WBA #1 spot and a world title shot. Despite his strong and impressive performacnes it’s uncertain whether he will get the oportunity to challenge the man he wants most: Undisputed champion Bernard Hopkins. Instead of facing Sturm the 40-year-old legend will defend against his countryman Jermain Taylor on July 16 and recently said he wants to retire next year.
â€žI really would like to get the chance that Taylor gets”, Sturm said. “But I will do everything to get that Hopkins fight this year.”
For his 32-year-old stable mate Stipe Drews future perspectives are looking bright either. The Croatian defeated his Argentine opponent Omar Eduardo Gonzalez by unanimous decision while he fought in his home country for the first time as a professinal. For the Croatian specators Drews was the principal of this event, not Sturm even though he enjoys higher international ranking positions.
To the delight of his grateful fans Drews dominated Gonzalez over the full stretch of twelve rounds and consequently won every round enroute to a wide decision (120:108, 120:108, 120:108). The immense reach and height of the Croatian proved to be far too much for the man from Argentina who looked willing but outclassed and desperately tried for the knockout in the final round.
â€žThe athmosphere here was incredible“, Drews commented after his important victory. â€žI want to thank my countryman here in Pula. I promised a great fight and this is what I did. I also want to thank my coach Michael Timm for his support. I hope that I can bring the world title to Pula someday.“
Drews upped his record to 28-1 with 13 knockouts. Gonzalez dropped to 27-7 with 9 knockouts.
After he lost an IBF light heavyweight world title eliminator last year Drews dropped a few positions in the four major sanctioning bodies. Currently he ranks between No. 8 and No. 12. In case Drews continues to perform like he did in Pula he can likely raise again to the top.
Felix Sturm, even before beating Sendra, has been ranked between No.1 and No.4.
In another title fight on the card WBC Youth champion Ante Bilic defended his title at super welterweight against Sergey Shnip by knockout in round 2. The only 21-year-old Bilic, fighting under the banner of Spotlight Boxing, knocked his challenger down three times until the bout was held at 2:13 of round 2.
The undefeated Croatian Bilic improved to 11-0 with 7 knockouts. Shnip dropped to 8-3 with 2 knockouts.
Aleksy Kuziemski W4 Alexander Beroshvili
Alex Mazikin W4 David Blanco
Mark Hendem TKO5 Janos Somogyi
Lion Mahr W4 Attila Khati
Jan Zavek TKO3 Joseph Sovijus
WBC Youth Super Welterweight Championship:
Ante Bilic KO2 Sergey Shnip
Denis Inkin TKO4 Garardo Soria
WBO Int. Light Heavyweight Championship:
Stipe Drews W12 Omar Eduardo Gonzalez
(120:108, 120:108, 120:108)
WBO Int. Middleweight Championship:
Felix Sturm W12 Jorge Sendra
(119:109, 118:110, 118:110)