Sturm retains WBA middleweight title
Felix Sturm made his way to the ring to an electric atmosphere in his native Germany at the Porsche Arena, Stuttgart, while making the eleventh defence of the WBA middleweight title. Few believed his American opponent Ronald “The Chosen One” Hearns, son of boxing legend Thomas “Hitman” Hearns.
The WBA champion improved his record to 35-2-1 (15) in what was probably one of his best performances.
Thomas Hearns, dropped to 26-2-0 (20) when the German put him on the canvas with a huge right hand in a good fight with an exciting finish
Sturm, a German of Bosnian parentage, weighed in at 72.4 kilograms and was defending his title for the ninth time. Hearns, 72.2 kilograms and also 32 years old, found no way past his defense.
The German, fighting in front of a hugely supportive crowd, tagged Hearns with two big right hands to the head as the challenger was stuck in a corner in the 7th-round, the second of which bent Hearns over, his head going into the ropes. At this point, the referee, Raul Caiz Jr, wasted no time at all in diving in and stopping the fight. The stoppage came at the 2-minutes and 30-second mark..
Hearns doubled and trebled up on his dominant jab to control the opening round; the champion remained the aggressor but was being out jabbed by Hearns on the way in. Strum found more success in the fourth, forcing Hearns to step it up a gear in the fifth.
In the fifth Hearns came out the aggressor and for the first time in the fight the champion was covering up and on the back foot. Sturm responded by capitalising on any opportunity when he managed to close the distance.
By the mid-way point it was looking like Ronald Hearns belonged in the ring to challenge for a portion of the middleweight title. Then at the beginning of the seventh Sturm landed a big shot forcing Hearns to the ropes, Hearns attempted to keep the champion from launching a sustained attach by throwing the jab that until now had served him so well, but Sturm would not be denied and landed another big right hand, the body of Hearns appeared to sag against the ropes, prompting the referee to stop the fight.
“In the fifth and sixth rounds I noticed I had the upper hand and so I went for it,” Sturm said.
“I’m ready, I’m here,” he added. “I’m looking forward to a great future with lots of great fights.”
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