Last night in front of 10,000 fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal, undefeated super middle southpaw Lucian Bute kept his perfect record by winning an IBF Eliminator with a tough twelve round decision over the rugged Sakio Bika.
Bika came to fight, having already tangled with the likes of world champions Joe Calzaghe, Markus Beyer along with world title challenger Sam Soliman, and made life difficult for the taller Bute in the early rounds.
Bute soon found that it best not to fight on the inside with his strong Australian based Cameroonian opponent and put a reach advantage to good use, keeping his rival at the end of a jab over the course of the second half of the bout.
Bika, 22-3-2 (14), lost a point on a headbutt in the tenth but the contest went the full twelve rounds with Bute, 20-0 (16), taking the decision on scores of 118-109 (twice) and 116-111.
On the undercard, heavyweight Jean Francis Bergeron, 27-0 (19), kept his NABA title with a unanimous ten round decision over Philadelphia's Robert Hawkins, 21-9 (7), and may have a date with former world champion Nickolai Valuev in September.