Last night at Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany, WBO super middle king Robert Stieglitz retained his title for the fifth time by outpointing the vastly less experienced Henry Weber, who was making his debut at world level.
It was a slow first round, with the boxers feeling each other out with jabs but Stieglitz did get in a few uppercuts while Weber connected with short rights during clinches.
Things heated up in the second round, when Stieglitz upped his work rate and shook Weber with a one-two combination. The rest of the frame saw the champion try to knock out his adversary.
Stieglitz threw every punch with bad intentions and while he battered the challenger, he couldn't seriously hurt his opponent.
The third saw Weber tighten up his defense and while he did connect with some decent jabs, he still was getting caught with far too many right hands from the champion.
Stieglitz blitzed Weber to start the fourth, driving the challenger across the ring in an all-out assault. Weber was rocked but rode out the bombing, coming back to score with jabs and uppercuts although he was outworked by the champion.
The fifth featured a more active Weber as the challenger had Stieglitz on the defensive in the first half of the round until the champion came back over the last minute and a half to score with combinations.
Weber appeared to be losing energy in the sixth and had difficulty keeping up with the more active Stieglitz, who was far busier.
The challenger did better in the seventh, causing problems for Stieglitz here and there, but didn't do enough to offset the more consistent offense of the champion.
Stieglitz was in complete control in the eighth, battering Weber with both hands for most of the round. Weber regrouped in the ninth, doing enough to keep Stieglitz from having another runaway round but the challenger was continuing to take punishment and very far behind on the cards going into the final three frames.
The champion came out in the tenth with all guns blazing, reeling off a torrent of punches but Weber refused to buckle and was able to mix with the champion, who had to pick his spots after the early energy expenditure.
Stieglitz still appeared winded in the eleventh and while he scored with several hard right hands, he couldn't control Weber, who managed a few counters on the inside.
Going into the twelfth round, Weber needed a knockout to win but it was Stieglitz who found the stamina to control the pace, throwing many more punches and limiting the challenger to isolated moments of success.
When the cards were tallied, Stieglitz won a unanimous decision on scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 116-112, seeing his record to 41-2 (23), while Weber, who came into the bout never having been in a contest scheduled for more than eight rounds, suffers his first loss, dropping to 15-1-1 (3), after putting on a big-hearted performance.
This was clearly a tune-up fight for Stieglitz, who is scheduled to defend in Denmark, against former three-time world champion Mikkel Kessler in April but Stieglitz must show a better defense when clashing with the Dane.
The undercard at Baden Arena featured several big names on the continent, with ex-IBF middleweight boss Arthur Abraham, 33-3 (27), coming back from a WBA super middle title bout loss to Andre Ward in May with a fifth round stoppage of WBO/WBC Latino beltholder Pablo Oscar NatalinoFarias, 19-2 (11), to capture the WBO European super middle crown.
Heavyweight prospect Kubrat Pulev, 15-0 (7), defeated ex-British, Commonwealth and European Union king Michael Sprott, 36-18 (17), when Sprott did not answer the bell for the tenth in a contest for the IBF International strap.
One of the world's top Women super feathers was also on the bill as Ramona Kuehne, 19-1 (6), halted Renata Domsodi, 7-2 (3), at 2:24 of the eighth in defense of the WBO, WBF and WIBF titles.