South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg busted up Erik Skoglund, but it wasn’t enough as the Swede outboxed him over a gritty, hard-fought 12 rounds in Stockholm last night.
Liebenberg pressed hard the whole night, but the judges sided with the home man 117-110, 117-110, 115-113, who lifted the vacant IBO International light-heavyweight belt.
It was less a fight than a brawl as both fighters tried to assert their physical dominance. Holding and hitting came to define the action and when the skin around Skoglund’s right eye burst open in the sixth, it came as no surprise.
The referee ruled that the cut was caused by a clean punch, but there’s little doubt the repeated head-butting by both boxers didn’t help. Liebenberg was left frustrated by Skoglund’s unwillingness to engage. Too often he would hit and hold, leaving the South African unable to get leverage on his punches.
Liebenberg battled bravely through the 12th, but Skoglund’s cleaner punching was enough to maintain his unblemished record.