Boxing Snippets

Hatchet job costs Ryno

fullsizerenderRyno Liebenberg did it all right against Enrico Koelling on Saturday night, only for the judges to get it all wrong.

The South African outworked, outthought and outpunched the skilled German in an absorbing 12-rounder, only for two of the three judges to turn in spectacularly inept cards: 117-112 and 116-112. The other judge got it right with a 117-111 card for Liebenberg.

Boxing in Germany has always been a lottery for foreign fighters where it seems only a knockout can be enough to get the nod. Certainly, there was a stink in the air in Neubrandenburg on Saturday, thanks to the whiff created by local officials.

Liebenberg threw more punches and he landed more, as confirmed by Compubox which recorded him out-punching Koelling 1016 to 319. All the effective aggression came from Liebenberg, who stepped on the gas from the fourth round and maintained it throughout the rest of the fight.

It was a noble, mature performance by the 32-year-old, although it will be small consolation that most thought he had won easily. The record books will say he didn’t.

Promoter Rodney Berman isn’t taking it lying down. His first order of business on Monday morning will be to appeal the verdict. If a positive result seems fanciful – turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, remember – he may be better served petitioning for a rematch.

Dodgy decisions are part of boxing, but so too are rematches. Koelling and his camp will know that they dodged a bullet here, but they must give Liebenberg another crack.

The fight itself had few standout moments. The boxers were well matched and it was less a power struggle than a battle of wits as they tried to outbox each other. Despite his reputation as a supreme boxer, Koelling was more than matched in this department as Liebenberg landed easily and often. His work to the body was especially impressive.

Koelling had his moments but these were sporadic. He just never pressed the action and Liebenberg was able to counter everything he threw.

The South African looked to be a comfortable winner, but German boxing is nothing if not eccentric.

The look on Liebenberg’s face when the scores were read said it all.

“We wuz robbed”, the original line attributed to the manager of German fighter Max Schmeling in 1932, could well have applied here.




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