HAMBURG, Germany (September 28, 2005) – Luan Krasniqi entered the ring to deafening applause from the over 10,000 German partisans on hand at the Color Line Arena in Hamburg on Wednesday night on the anniversary of Max Schmeling's 100th birthday. They were assembled to see him challenge World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion "Relentless" Lamon Brewster, from Los Angeles, who was making his third title defense.
Brewster started where he left off after evaporating Andrew Golota in just 53 seconds in Chicago on May 21: he threw heavy punches with bad intentions. Krasniqi withstood the challenge and took command of the fight by establishing a penetrating jab.
At the end of the opening stanza, Krasniqi motioned that he had been struck by a low blow, and referee Jose Rivera, from Puerto Rico, admonished Brewster for the beltline punch and gave Krasniqi time to recover.
Krasniqi's confidence grew in the second round as he began to throw combinations off his lead jab that landed effectively but without knockout power. Brewster continued to stalk the challenger looking to turn the tide with his vaunted left hook.
While Krasniqi developed a harmless cut on the left side of his lip, Brewster revealed a much more dangerous cut near his left eyebrow in round three.
Krasniqi felt Brewster hit him with a low blow again with less than 10 seconds left in the fourth, turned his back on the champion, and walked away. Rivera was unfazed and watched Brewster follow Krasniqi to land a left hook as he turned back at the champion just before the bell ending the round. The pro-Krasniqi crowd whistled their disapproval.
Both fighters exchanged effectively in the fifth round while the cut over Brewster's eye worsened and the accumulation of jabs and stiff, short combinations appeared to be slowing the champion.
Krasniqi and the admiring crowd reached the pinnacle of their confidence in round six. The crowd cheered in unison "Luan, Luan" as Krasniqi decided to stand toe to toe with Brewster until the champion caught Krasniqi with a solid left hook in a corner. Krasniqi dodged out of the corner and immediately turned on Brewster and landed his best punch of the fight – a also a left hook.
The decision to punch with a puncher turned out to be Krasniqi's undoing. Rather than stay with the jab and following with swift combinations when the opportunity was present, he appeared to want to prove to Brewster, the crowd and himself that he could defeat the champion in all facets of the match.
Krasniqi's strategy finally betrayed him in the eighth round when Brewster landed a devastating left hook and Krasniqi crumpled against the ropes and to the mat with less than 30 seconds remaining in the round. Rivera appeared to provide a very long count that allowed Krasniqi to get to his feet just before the bell sounded ending the round.
Reports from American television trucks estimated the count to be between 13 and 17 seconds.
Brewster stormed out of his corner at the beginning of the ninth round in an attempt to finish his opponent. It appeared as though Rivera might step in to end the assault, but Krasniqi weathered the storm and found a second wind just at the point it appeared Brewster was reaching exhaustion.
Brewster dug deep to muster yet another assault that ended with a right hand to Krasniqi's jaw with just seconds remaining in the round. This time Rivera waved off the action and declared Brewster the winner by TKO.
Brewster said after the fight, "Luan is a good fighter who landed many good shots against me. I want to be the world champion, not just a United States champion, and I proved it tonight by coming to Germany and defeating a game challenger. I always fight from will, not always from skill.
"I want to give applause to Hamburg and the German people for being so wonderful to me during my visit. I will never forget my time here."
Brewster's promoter Don King echoed his champion's sentiments.
"Luan used his jab and his right but this champion doesn't quit," King said. "Lamon Brewster is a true world champion now that he came to Germany and won here."
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV