By Johnny Walker
In a night of heavyweight action at the Dima-Sportcenter, Lohbruegge, in Hamburg, Germany, Alexander “Sascha” Dimitrenko successfully defended his European heavyweight title with a unanimous decision win over UK challenger Michael Sprott. Rising heavyweight Denis Boytsov, whose career had been on hold because of hand injuries, got back on track with a win over Matthew Greer, while in an upset, former cruiserweight champion Juan Carlos Gomez was upset by American journeyman Darnell “Ding-A-Ling Man” Wilson.
Denis Boytsov (28-0-0, 24 KOs), who last saw action in late 2010, looked physically impressive, his chiseled, Adonis-like physique much in contrast to the pot-bellied appearance of the slovenly American Matthew Greer, who appeared to have just ambled out of his corner pub to take this fight. Boytsov, however, after a quick start in which he appeared to break Greer’s nose, was not quite as impressive with his boxing skills, which were covered in rust. Greer (14-7-0, 13 KOs) even managed to land a hard right hand to Boytsov’s chin in round three, but the latter fighter was never in any trouble.
The German-based Russian finally bludgeoned Greer down, with the greatest entertainment being provided by Greer’s trainer, who yelled things like, “You ain’t no punching bag!” as encouragement, while his charge was busy playing that exact role. Finally, referee Frank Michael Maas called a halt to the fight apropos of nothing in particular at 1:25 of the sixth round, perhaps realizing the utter futility of this mismatch. Hopefully Boytsov’s oft-injured hands got through unscathed, and we can now begin to see him matched against some actual competition.
Juan Carlos Gomez, touted by many (including himself) as the man who would take down WBC champ Vitali Klitschko before the Ukrainian crushed him easily in 2009, fell in a shocking upset to journeyman Darnell “Ding-A-Ling Man” Wilson, who was on a six-match losing streak dating back to 2008. Gomez (49-3-0, 37 KOs) initially used his size advantage (6’3 ½” to Wilson’s 5’10”) and pawing jab to keep Wilson (24-12-3, 20 KOs) at bay, but the determined Wilson pressed the fight and landed almost all of the fight’s more telling blows, hard shots which often had Gomez sticking out his tongue and making faces, surely indicating that he’d been hurt by them.
The German crowd, initially pro-Gomez, began pulling for the challenger late in the fight, as Gomez went into a very negative mode, merely trying to get through rounds rather than pro-actively win. After ten rounds, the judges sided with the underdog, with two scores of 96-94 offsetting a 95-95 tally to hand the “Ding-A-Ling Man” a much needed victory. In an interview following the fight, Gomez alluded to some kind of shoulder problem which he said limited his effectiveness, but Wilson, needing a win any way he could get it, no doubt has little sympathy.
European Heavyweight champion Alexander “Sascha” Dimitrenko (32-1, 21 KOs) looked much more energized early against veteran British heavyweight Michael Sprott (36-17, 17 KOs) than he did in a very closely contested title bout with Albert Sosnowski earlier this year. Often bouncing on his toes, Dimitrenko dominated most of the fight behind a snappy left jab, along with a nice array of 1-2 combinations, some nifty up-jabs and hard left hooks. He used his reach and 6’7” frame to keep Sprott on the outside, the Brit limited to some spotty, if effective, counterpunching. Sprott rallied to take round six, but otherwise, Dimitrenko piled up round after round, and by the latter stages of the fight it was apparent that Sprott would need a knockout to dethrone the champ.
Things then devolved into some chippy behavior as both fighters began to tire. There had been numerous head-clashes throughout the fight, and Dimitrenko’s right eye showed the effects as it began to swell. A clearly frustrated Sprott began throwing Dimitrenko to the canvas, and the Brit was docked a point by referee Massimo Barrovecchio at the beginning of round 11 for a shot for hitting after the bell at the end of the previous round. Sprott was docked another point for pitching Dimitrenko to the canvas again in round twelve.
The fight thus dragged to a ragged conclusion, with the judges awarding the unanimous victory to Dimitrenko, 117-111, 116-111, and 119-108. Boxing Insider likewise had it 118-108 for Dimitrenko.
Also, a cruiserweight contest saw hard hitting Russian Rakhim Chakhkiev (11-0, 9 KOs) show off his mastery of body punching, as he stopped American Michael Simms (21-15, 13 KOs) with a vicious body shot in round four.