Lucian Bute didn’t look as sharp as he usually does on Oct 15, but he was good enough to stop American challenger Jesse Brinkley in the ninth round to successfully defend his IBF super middleweight crown in his adopted hometown of Montreal, Canada. The undefeated champion, originally from Romania, upped his record to an impressive 27-0, with 22 KOs, when he landed a perfect left uppercut to the challenger’s face. Brinkley’s record fell to 35-6, with 22 Kos.
There wasn’t too much action in the bout during the first few rounds and it looked like the mandatory challenger might have caught Bute on an off night. However, he didn’t take advantage of Bute’s seeming disinterest and failed to press the action. Things were more tactical than exciting, but both fighters were managing to land some clean shots even if there wasn’t much power behind them.
Things changed in the fifth round as Bute caught Brinkley with a short left uppercut to his body, and it drained the life out of him momentarily. To his credit, Brinkley beat the count and the bell saved him from further punishment.
Brinkley found himself on the deck again in the eighth round and by the time the perfectly-thrown left hook floored him in the ninth he was battered and bruised and probably thankful the referee waved it off before starting to count. It was the sixth title defense for Bute.
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There was also a pretty good co-main event as former WBC light heavyweight titleholder Adrian Diaconu, another Romanian whom now calls Montreal home, earned a hard-fought 10-round unanimous decision over Omar Sheika of America.
Diaconu had to get up off the deck in the second round and the two traded some pretty heavy shots in an interesting and lively fight in front of about 12,000 fans at the Bell Centre. Diaconu raised his record to 27-2, with 15 KOs, while Sheika dropped to 30-10, with 21 KOs. It was Diaconu’s first bout since losing twice to Jean Pascal in title fights and the scorecards should have actually been closer than 97-93, 98-92, and 98-91. Diaconu did wear the New Jersey fighter down in the end, but it was a competitive bout all the way through.
Sheika looked impressive enough to be a threat in the division, mainly because of the power he has. Brinkley may also have gained some new fans, but it’s doubtful we’ll see either of the two in the ring with current or former world champions again anytime soon.
The next big fight in Quebec will feature Pascal against Bernard Hopkins. 888 Sportsbook has the odds of a Pascal win at -340 and a Hopkins victory at +260