Sebastian Sylvester clinched a spectacular 12th-round KO victory over Javier Castillejo to defend his European middleweight title and become Felix Sturm´s next mandatory challenger. With 67 seconds to go, the Hurricane dusted his opponent with a huge right to the head. “The fans helped me win tonight,” Sylvester (29-2, 14 KOs) enthused. “They were fantastic.” The sell-out crowd of 4.600 fans in Neubrandenburg supported their local hero from the first bell on and raised the roof during a spectacular sixth round when Sylvester rocked the former world champion with several strong combinations. “El Lince” looked hurt but refused to give in as Sylvester kept punishing him with strong left jabs and big rights. “The fight was decided after the sixth round,” coach Hartmut Schroder said.” Sebastian did an excellent job. He again proved his class tonight and showed his will to win.”
Ever since an accidental clash of heads in the second round, Sylvester had been hindered by a bad cut above his right eye. “Blood kept pouring into my eye and I had to take a lot of lefts from him,” the European champion said. “That made me really angry. But I could not quit – not in front of such a great crowd. That´s why I carried on.”
After the huge sixth-round, Sylvester dominated and picked his opponent apart with his left jab. With the crowd already in party mood, the Hurricane then landed a huge right that flattened the Spaniard with 67 seconds to go. Castillejo (62-8, 43 KOs) was down for several minutes but could eventually walk out of the ring. “I am pleased with my performance,” Sylvester said. “I tried to take things easy in the last round because I was leading on points but I thought I could give it one last try and then I hit him.”
Next up for the Hurricane will be a meeting with WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm. “He probably got sick while watching the fight on TV,” manager Winfried Spiering said. “Our goal has always been the WBA title and we keep marching forward.” And Sauerland managing director Chris Meyer added: “Sebastian will be the new mandatory challenger and we have until October to challenge Sturm.”
In the co-featured main event, up-and-coming Karo Murat (17-0, 11 KOs) won the European super middleweight title from Cristian Sanavia (40-4, 12 KOs). The 24-year-old German was ahead 116-111, 115-112 and 114-113 on the scorecards. “I am thrilled to be the new European champion,” Murat said afterwards. “It was a hard fight and Sanavia is a very tough and experienced man. But I landed more.”
Murat was off to the better start and found his target with right uppercuts. He did well to keep the always-aggressive Sanavia at bay. Murat also shook off a cut above his left eye that was caused by an accidental headbutt. Sanavia gained impetus in the eighth but received a count in the ninth after kneeing down. Murat seemed to dominate the last rounds even though Sanavia fired in a few strong left hooks. A point deduction in the final round could not keep Murat from victory in the biggest fight of his young career. “We knew it would be very tough,” coach Ulli Wegner said. “Sanavia is a strong guy but Karo did very well. I am proud of him.”
On the undercard, Marco “Captain” Huck (20-1, 15 KOs) returned to winning ways with a fifth-round TKO stoppage of Leon Nzama. It was his first fight since dropping a spectacular IBF cruiserweight title fight against Steve Cunningham in December. “It was good to be back in the ring,” Huck said.
Credit: Sauerland Event