The WBA World Lightheavyweight title was at play in the second meeting between Juergen Braehmer and Eduard Gutknecht this Saturday, March 12th at the Jahnsportforum in New Brandenburg. The fight aired on SAT.1 in Germany.
Gutknecht stepped in to take the fight with only about a month's notice, as original opponent Thomas Oosthuizen of South Africa washed out due to personal problems and negotiations with Nathan Cleverly failed yet again. Despite a four fight winning streak, Gutknecht has not shown much since losing to Braehmer the first time.
Braehmer started out faster than usual, and he shook up Gutknecht with several hard punches. The second round saw both fighters maintaining a high pace, Gutknecht landed a big punch early, but Braehmer answered by controlling the rest of the round. The third round saw Braehmer invoke a bit of his home field advantage as the fighters exchanged headbutts and it was Gutknecht who was warned by the referee.
The two continued alternating between heated exchanges and ugly tie ups through the middle rounds. Braehmer was starting to accumulate rounds as he was the more precise and technical puncher through all the rough-housing. Round six saw Gutknecht come out swinging, but Braehmer stopped him with his right hand and he landed an uppercut that straightened Gutknecht up.
In the seventh, Gutknecht let Braehmer lead for most of the round, but he scored during a pair of flurries in the last minute to close the round strong. For Braehmer's part he stayed composed and did not appear to be hurt. Gutknecht continued to pressure in the eighth, whiel Braehmer's work rate seemed to drop off slightly.
Early in the ninth, a headbutt seemed to open a cut over Braehmer's eye, and Gutknecht continued applying added pressure. The referee stepped in during the 10h round and took a point off from Gutknecht for the rough tactics. Though Gutknecht tried more pressure in the later rounds, Braehmer was the more polished boxer and he was able to hold him off. Though Braehmer tired, he seemed comfortable that he was ahead on the cards and Gutknecht likely needed a knock out to win the fight. In the last round, Gutknecht probably regretted expending so much energy uselessly, but he could not find the knock out.
In the end, the judges from France, Italy and Panama had the fight in favor of Braehmer by scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 118-110.
Braehmer is now 37 years old, and this last fight was his 50th on record. He has had a long career, turning professional back in December of 1999, but he has never fought outside of Germany, and is therefore still largely unknown to the worldwide boxing audience.
Braehmer formerly held the WBO version of the Light heavyweight title, but was forced to vacate when he pulled out of a title defense against England's Nathan Cleverly in May of 2011 claiming injury. He returned to more average competition in 2012, and though Cleverly's name periodically surfaces as an opponent, the fight has never come to fruition.
The WBA's “Super World” champion is Sergey Kovalev, so Braehmer is already playing second fiddle. By being strictly a regional champion, it marginalizes the belt even more. If Braehmer does not fight at least a fighter like Cleverly next, then he is probably making it clear that he is content to call himself a world champion, while testing himself only at a regional level.