By Marco Bratusch at ringside
Cedric Vitu (46-2, 19 KOs) is the new IBF mandatory challenger in the junior middleweight division after his successfully world title eliminator against Marcello Matano, who he beat via tenth round TKO at Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, France. The fight, that topped a MK Events boxing night, was televised live on Canal +.
Vitu started out working well with his right hand from his southpaw stance, using it as a jab and then as uppercut when the round progressed. Matano answered with a couple of blows to the body and looked to brawl his way into the fight but Vitu did not buy it at the beginning. A right hook shakened Matano during round two and then a cut at the edge of Matano’s right eyebrow, caused by a punch, began to bleed. Matano smells his blood and proudly fired back, arguably winning the third round as Vitu remained often in the pocket in order to find a definitive blow. Vitu’s action was sporadic but accurate at this stage. Matano (17-3, 5 KOs) became the aggressor and fought back in spurs, sometimes missing badly but continuing to be a player also in round four.
At this stage Vitu seemd to take his time with no rush, maybe playing a bit too much probably because Matano’s power did not bother him seriously. However, as soon as Matano lands some right hooks from the mid distance, Vitu unloaded a series of heavy yet single blows that made Matano wobbling for a while. Going into rond five, the cut on Matano’s face seemed under control by his corner and stopped to bleed. The pace was pretty high and Matano looked to tiring at the end of round six, though he had some success with right hooks to the body and the head, also because Vitu’s excessive showboating and clowning with his hands low at mid distance, taking many silly punches.
The French boxer looked faster and his punches were snapped, but Matano fought back with toughness and pride giving a good show. Eventually an explosive right cross sent Matano down at the end of round eight, but the Italian beat the count and managed to finish the round although referee Steve Gray doesn’t hear the bell because of the crowd roaring and extended the round for a few seconds. Matano went down again as round nine began and, again, he stands up at four but his legs were by now gone and his trainer Roberto Croce signaled the referee that he had seen enough for his boxer. Vitu confirms to be a skilled counter-puncher with maybe some flaws in terms of durability and defence, Matano a proud yet technically limited fighter. Quite surprisingly, in the eye of two judges Matano was ahead 86-84 and 85-84 when the fight was stopped, according to the IBF supervisor. The third judge had Vitu ahead by 6 points.