LÜBECK, 28 November 1998.
In the second defense of his WBO welterweight title, German based Russian Ahmed Kotiev outpointed his mandatory challenger, Puerto Rican Santos Cardona, winning a unanimous 12-round decision.
The 2000 spectators in the Hansehalle of Lübeck saw a highly tactical fight, in which Cardona was the aggressor for most of the time, while Kotiev was moving on quick feed and succeeded with counters.
In the second round Cardona, with 44 fights the much more experienced of the two, was shaking Kotiev with a left hook. In the third Kotiev (66.4 kg / 146 lbs) landed a lead left uppercut; in the fourth round he scored with two consecutive left-right combinations.
In round eleven referee Bill Connors deducted a point from Cardona (66.4 kg / 146 lbs) for repeated low blows, making it a decisive 10:8 round for Kotiev. Even though Cardona, who enjoyed a four inch reach advantage, won the final round, he was unable to make up leeway.
The decision was close but unanimous: 115:112 (John Stewart), 115:112 (Manuel Oliver Palomo), 116:112 (Joachim Jacobsen).
"I respect Kotiev as a great champion", Cardona commented after the fight. "But I expected him to stay toe to toe with me and not to run away."
It was the fifth unsuccesful try of Cardona to lift a world title. In his previous attempts he was outpointed by Pernell Whitaker and Verno Phillips (twice) and stopped in the 9th round by Bronco McKart.
"I was following the game plan of my trainer Fritz Sdunek", Kotiev explained his tactic. "It was more advantegous for me to use my footwork and score punches while I was backpedalling. I was more effective that way."
Kotiev improved his undefeated record to 23-0 (14), whereas Santos Cardona dropped to 37-8 (26). This loss interrupted Cardona's seven fight winning streak.
The German based Kotiev had won the vacant WBO welterweight title on 14 February of this year, when he outpointed American Leonard Townsend. The title was vacated by Kotiev's stable mate Michael Löwe, the former WBO title holder.
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