Saturday 24 August 2013: Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Braehmer-Abatangelo / Abraham-Shihep fight poster
Braehmer-Abatangelo / Abraham-Shihep fight poster

Television: ARD (Germany)
Time: 2:00PM ET / 11:00AM PT

EBU (European) light heavyweight title / WBO International light heavyweight title
12 Rounds

Juergen Braehmer 40(31)-2 vs. Stefano Abatangelo 17(6)-2-1

Braehmer is one of boxing’s most intriguing characters. In a sport known for its characters, that’s saying a lot. His career halted a few times due to stints in prison, Braehmer is nevertheless known as a ring warrior.

The most notable aspect about Braehmer is his punching power. He can stop a fight with a single punch. With a 74% KO ratio, that power pays dividends.

Having previously held the WBO light heavyweight title, Braehmer is building himself back towards contention after having to vacate. However, it’s questionable whether he can win a title again. The current light heavyweight division is packed with Bernard Hopkins, Adonis Stevenson, and Sergey Kovalev all holding titles.

There’s no question that Braehmer should win this fight. Abatangelo, though a fine Italian domestic, has virtually no experience either at the world or continential level.

I will say this much for Abatangelo. With 2 of his last 3 fights won by KO, maybe he’s found his power. Even if he has, however, it’s questionable whether Abatangelo will be able to match Braehmer shot-for-shot.

Prediction: Braehmer by KO5.

Vacant WBO Inter-Continental super middleweight title
12 Rounds

Arthur Abraham 36(28)-4 vs. Willbeforce Shihepo 20(15)-6

Let’s get this out of the way. This is a tune-up for Abraham en route to his 2nd rematch with Robert Stieglitz. The entire reason this fight is happening is because Abraham needs to rebuild his confidence before his big payday.

So does Shihepo stand a chance? Only if Abraham has grown massively old overnight.

Prediction: Abraham by KO2.

IBF International heavyweight title
12 Rounds

Kubrat Pulev 17(9)-0 vs. Tony Thompson 38(26)-3

This is the best fight of the card and the one I’m most salivating over.

I rank Pulev as #4 on my list of best Heavyweights — right behind the Klitschkos Bros. and Alexander Povetkin. In his last 3 fights, Pulev has decimated Alexander Ustinov, Alexander Dimitrenko, and Michael Sprott. All by KO. He’s also soundly outboxed Travis Walker and Maksym Pedyura.

But what’s great about Pulev other than his power is his sound fundamentals. For a big guy, Pulev has tremendous balance and knows how to pick his shots. But that doesn’t mean he’s favoured to win against Thompson.

Thompson, who many people counted out after getting defeated by Wladimir Klitschko twice, proved that he’s a legitimate threat to anyone not named “Klitschko” by KOing David Price twice. Thompson may be 41-years-old, and he may not be winning body beautiful awards, but he’s still able to school most heavyweights.

The question, of course, is whether Pulev will be schooled or not.

Prediction: Pulev by UD.

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