By Johnny Walker
Juergen Braehmer outlasted Eduard Gutknecht today at Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin, Germany, to take Gutknecht’s EBU world light-heavyweight chanpionship.
The bout was a closely contested affair, with Braehmer using his superior length to keep Gutknecht at bay much of the time, and ably holding his own when Gutknecht closed the gap and the two men fought skull to skull in the proverbial “phone booth.”
Gutknecht also had his problems with the referee, Terry O’ Connor, who repeatedly warned him about pushing Braehmer’s head down and rabbit punching him. Yet it was Braehmer himself who often initiated these exchanges, far too easily leaning forward and bending low, subsequently giving his opponent no other target than the back of his head, a trick he perhaps learned from watching Alexander Povetkin successfully employ it against Marco Huck last year.
Braehmer was rewarded when O’Connor finally docked a frustrated Gutknecht a point after yet another infraction.
Braehmer also hit the deck in rounds five and ten under assault from Gutknecht, but O’Connor, who likely won’t be on Eduard’s Xmas card list, declined to rule either instance as a knockdown. For the final two rounds, Braehmer virtually walked into most exchanges bent over at the waist, ducking low and trying to draw yet another point deduction from his opponent. In round eleven, O’Connor warned Gutknecht once again, but also seemed to be finally catching on to Braehmer’s antics.
That didn’t discourage Braehmer, however, as he continued his tactics in the final round, until a thoroughly disgusted Gutknecht disdainfully and roughly guided him out of the ring and onto the apron. The fight had now descended from a decent slugfest into a bit of a farce, thanks to Braehmer and referee O’Connor, who should have deducted a point from the former combatant early in the fight to put an end to the posturing.
When the dust settled, only one judge saw the fight as close with a score of 114-113, while two others were watching a different bout, it seems, turning in wide scores of 117-110 and 116-111.
As this fight was a WBO title eliminator, Braehmer (39-2, 30 KOs) now looks toward a showdown with WBO light-heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly of the UK, who first has to sucessfully complete a date with Robin Krasniqi in March.