The 02 World Arena in Berlin, Germany played host last night to the return of "King" Arthur Abraham as the former IBF middleweight king turned back the clock to give a fine performance in unseating WBO super middle champ Robert Stieglitz.
Since transitioning to the super middle division three years ago, Abraham had experienced mixed fortunes, going 4-3, losing three contests during the Super Six tournament to the likes of Carl Froch, Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward.
During that same time period, Stieglitz had seen an unprecedented run of success, capturing the WBO super middle belt against Karoly Balzsay before retaining the title on six occasions.
However, Stieglitz had largely faced European-level competition and had never tangled with the world class grade of opposition that Abraham had fallen short against.
And that disparity played out with bad consequences for Stieglitz at the 02 Arena last night.
Initially, the champion wasn't sure how to deal with the measured pressure exerted by Abraham, who was looking to close distance with Stieglitz.
By the second frame, Stieglitz began to use his longer reach to pick off Abraham and got some respect by pressuring the former middleweight in the third.
In the fourth, Abraham, always a slow starter, had gotten to within range of the champion and began to rake Stieglitz to the body, which opened up opportunities to the head.
From that point on, Abraham took control of the bout, walking through Stieglitz's attempts to hold him off and punishing the taller man with efficient combination punching. producing cuts around both eyes of the champion.
The courageous Stieglitz never stopped trying and briefly reversed the tide in the seventh with a few sharp shots but he could not keep the marauding Abraham at bay for the remainder of the contest, despite a spirited effort in the last round, losing a 116-112, 1160-112 and 115-113 unanimous decision.
With the win, Abraham annexes the WBO super middleweight title, improving to 35-3 (27) while Stieglitz sees an 11 bout win streak evaporate, dropping to 42-3 (23).