BY JOHNNY WALKER
Alexander “Sascha” Dimitrenko, a native of Ukraine now fighting out of Germany, defended his European heavyweight title today, knocking game Polish challenger Albert Sosnowski cold in the final round of a tightly contested bout at the Universum Gym in Hamburg, Germany.
The 6’7” Dimitrenko (33-1), used his considerable size advantage over the 6’2” Sosnowski (46-4-1) as much as possible, making it difficult work for the smaller man to get inside. Sosnowski, however, as he showed when he fought Vitali Klitschko last year, is always in superior condition and is as game a heavyweight as they come, and through sheer willpower managed to make this an interesting affair.
The momentum swung back and forth through the first four rounds, as Dimitrenko tried to impose his will with some hard right hands to Sosnowski’s head. But the Pole fought back every time Dimitrenko seemed to be getting the upper hand, using his superior strength to bull inside and work the taller man’s body.
Round five typified the back and forth action, as Dimitrenko stunned Sosnowski with some hard left-right combinations to the head, only to see Sosnowski gather himself, driving Dimitrenko into the ropes with a hard body shot, and then landing a hard right to Dimitrenko’s head as the round came to a close.
Dimitrenko rallied through rounds six and seven, as the bout got chippy, with the German fighter repeatedly falling to the canvas as Sosnowski charged inside. By round eight, it seemed that Sosnowski had definitively turned the fight in his favor, as the Pole went downstairs and then upstairs on Dimitrenko, whose reddened face began to look very much worse for the wear.
The later stages of the fight saw the pendulum keep swinging, but by round eleven an exhausted Dimitrenko was literally holding on for dear life, so much so that referee Massimo Barrovecchio deducted a point from him for excessive holding. With the point deduction and a 10-8 round for Sosnowski, it wasn’t unreasonable to think that the fight was up for grabs as the fighters went into the final round.
Sensing that a victory was within reach, Sosnowski threw caution to the wind in round twelve. However, as he made one more effort to bull his way inside on the giant, Dimitrenko landed a crushing right uppercut that caught the Pole square on the jaw and knocked him out cold. It was a spectacular knockout that left Sosnowski prone on the mat for several minutes. He still appeared disoriented as the official verdict was announced.
With that single bludgeoning blow, Sascha Dimitrenko may have earned himself a title shot at WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, who is looking for his next challenge after having an easy time with Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis a week ago. This would be one time when Vitali is pitted against a challenger his own size, a battle between two 6’7” behemoths that would be a huge event in Germany and of more than passing interest for fans of heavyweight action everywhere.
At 28 years of age, Dimitrenko would have youth on his side against the veteran champion, who turns 40 in July. However, Dimitrenko looked far from unbeatable in this fight, and he will need to work harder than he ever has in training camp if he is fortunate enough to challenge Vitali for the WBC title.