By Marco Bratusch at ringside
It was just before 6 pm local time at Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, France, as the challenger Serhiy Demchenko and now former European Union light heavyweight champion Hakim Zoulikha began their encounter, after a brief delay due to the fact that there was no stroll for the fighter at the respective corners, and they actually started the bout without them.
Both men started slowly and tentative, with Zoulikha landing a pair of good right cross and Demchenko trying to keep him at distance using a stiff jab before stepping aside, as his trainer Aurelio Pili suggested him. An accidental clash of heads opens a cut on the left eyebrow of Demchenko at the beginning of round two, then both men starting to trade at times with crosses and straight punches, frequently closing their acions going to the midsection. The fight developed at mid-range in round three, but Zoulikha seemed to slow down a bit and maybe felt a couple of shots. Demchenko appeared now more relaxed and added uppercuts to his jab, then was the clear aggressor in round four, starting his actions from the center of the ring though Zoulikha (24-9, 10 KOs) demonstrates to be a live dog landing with a couple of good hooks.
The Frenchman came back strong in round five because Demchenko felt a bit overconfident and offered a stationary target looking happy to exchange. However, another clash of heads opens a deeper cut this time in the middle of Demchenko’s forehead. The referee Michael Alexander asked the doctor to visit Demchenko (18-11-1, 13 KOs) and then, pretty surprisingly, the physician declared the bout had to be stopped and going to the scorecards. The cut does not appeard dangerous because of its position but it was bleeding copiously, actually. Thus, Demchenko wins the EU title for the second time in his career as two judges saw the fight in his favor, scoring 49-46 and 48-47, while the third had Zoulikha ahead 48-47.
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