Last night at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, WBO cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck was given a stiff challenge by opponent Ran Nakash while heavyweight Robert Helenius took a big step up the ladder by defeating former world champ Samuel Peter.
Little known Nakash came seemingly out of nowhere to give Huck a lot of difficulty from the very first round. The much shorter Israeli marched forward all night, putting the normally aggressive Huck in the uncomfortable position of fighting off the back foot.
The challenger had success with overhand shots on the way in as Huck took quite some time to adjust to the bulldog-like Nakash but when the champion did begin his own offense, Nakash proved quite durable.
The challenger maximized his shorter stature by crouching on the way in buck Huck counteracted this strategy with bracing uppercuts, which started to open up Nakash to other punches as well.
Huck came on strong in the final round, launching a vigorous two handed assault but could not knock down the big hearted challenger.
Retaining his WBO title for the sixth time, Huck improves to 32-1 (23) while Nakash, who had never been past ten rounds previously, suffers his first loss, falling to 25-1 (18).
On the undercard, Helenius continued to make great gains despite engaging in just his 15th professional contest. The towering Finn used a crisp jab to keep Peter at bay but the ex-WBC ruler nearly hit paydirt at the end of the second, shaking Helenius with a hard left hook.
Peter marched ahead the whole bout but never was able to formulate a consistent offense, harried by the jab, footwork and sheer size of Helenius.
Helenius took away the potential effectiveness of Peter on the inside by clinching whenever the action moved in close and after the midway point, Peter was looking weary.
In the ninth, Peter walked into a short left hook he never saw coming and fell hard on the canvas. The veteran beat the count but shortly afterward was clipped by a hard right, left hook combination that sent Peter down in a semi-conscious state and the fight was immediately called off at 1:15 of the round.
Peter, now 34-5 (27), was able to walk out of the ring after a few minutes as Helenius, 15-0 (10), captures the vacant WBA Intercontinental belt to go along with his WBO version of the same.
The vacant European Union light heavyweight title is still seeking an owner as Artur Hein, 14-1-1 (8), and Tony Averland, 15-5-1 (3), fought to a draw after 12 rounds.
Ex-European light heavy beltholder Thomas Ulrich, 32-6 (22), was surprisingly stopped in the seventh by prospect Sergej Rozvadovskij, 5-0-2 (4), and light heavy Dustin Dirks, 19-0 (13), remains unbeaten after halting Robert Cocco, 10-8-1 (5), in the sixth.