In a mild upset, veteran Juergen Braehmer turned away Rob Brant in the final WBSS quarterfinal match in the World Boxing Super Series 168-pound tournament. Braehmer moves on the semifinals where he will meet 22-0 Callum Smith, the youngest, biggest, and most talented of Liverpool’s four fighting Smith brothers.
The smart money was on Brant, in large part because youth was on his side. At age 27, he was 12 years younger than Braehmer who looks older than his years.
There were other factors that seemingly favored Brant, the only U.S.-born entrant in either of the two WBSS tourneys. For one thing, he was a stablemate of Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence Jr. at Derrick James’ gym in Dallas, Texas, so he represented a hot barn. He was going up in weight, but had competed at 178 pounds as an amateur. It seemed more relevant that Braehmer was going down in weight after a 10-year run as a light heavyweight. But the German, inspired by a hometown crowd, turned back the clock and, all things considered, delivered one of the best performances of his long career.
Sticking tight to his game plan, the former two-division champion methodically outclassed his American adversary who did not fight with urgency after falling behind on the scorecards. The final tallies were 119-109, 118-110, and 116-112.
In winning, Braehmer advanced his record to 49-3. Brant suffered his first pro defeat, declining to 22-1.
If Braehmer gets past Callum Smith, he will face the winner of the semifinal match between George Groves and Chris Eubank, Jr. The dates and venues for the next round of 168-pound WBSS activity have yet to be determined.
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In the chief undercard bout, German super middleweight Vincent Feigenbutz improved to 27-2 (24) with an 11th-round stoppage of 34-year-old Argentine journeyman Gaston Alejandro Vega (27-12-2). The precocious 22-year-old Feigenbutz has yet to be tested against a world class opponent despite being a former interim WBA world 168-pound title-holder, a laurel he acquired at the tender age of nineteen.
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