In the first of two world title fights this weekend the WBO Super Middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz (46-3, 26) successfully defended his title thanks to clear decision over Nigerian Isaac Ekpo (22-2, 16) in a scrappy and less than exciting contest.
The opening round was close, it wasn't great but it was competitive as both men seemed to try and feel out what the other had. Neither man really committed themselves to an attack and as a result neither man really found out much about the other as cautious respect seemed to overshadow the round.
Unfortunately the fact the opening round had "failed" as a scouting expedition saw the same cautious attitude applied in the second round by both men. It seemed as if Stieglitz didn't want to find out if Ekpo's power was for real and it seemed that Ekpo, who looked good defensively, didn't want to let Stieglitz know about his power too soon. Unfortunately this played off as a second uninteresting round.
Thankfully it appeared that Stieglitz had began to figure Ekpo out and moved up a gear in round 3, landing the first notable combination of the fight. The class different seemed obvious as soon as Stieglitz let his hands go and this showed over the next few rounds as he began to rack up clear rounds thanks to a single flurry or two of eye catching action.
From round 3 onwards Stieglitz just grew and grew in to the fight. Ekpo, who had entered with an aura of being a hard hitting livewire was beginning to be outclassed, out boxed, out worked and generally made to look like a second rate challenger. A typical WBO challenger if you will. Whilst Ekpo was looking like a typical second rate challenger Stieglitz was beginning to look like a second rate champion and as a result was starting to have a field day with Ekpo who was being broken down physically and forced into a shell mentally.
By the end of round 9 it was becoming a route as Stieglitz moved up the gears and starting to really let his hands go, seemingly staggering Ekpo late in the round. From then on it was game over, Ekpo lacked the power to trouble the German, lacked the skills to compete and lacked any trait at all that could push Stieglitz into looking for a plan B. It was just a matter of what did Stieglitz want, was he happy with a wide decision or would he push for a late stoppage?
The answer didn't really matter, Ekpo, for his faults, did seem to be tough and seemed like he'd find a way to see out the final bell one way or another. That's exactly what he managed thanks to some very scrappy work, especially in a final round marred by holding and and lack of clean action as the fight fizzled to a clear decision in a bout that won't be on any end of year lists I'm afraid.
It's fair to say that despite scores of 118-110-twice, and 119-111 people won't be in a rush to see Stieglitz again on the back of this contest. it was poor and certainly nothing worth re-watching.