Jack Culcay secured a close split decision victory over Abass Baraou in Germany on Friday night, with the fight landing Culcay one step closer to a potential IBF mandatory shot at Jeison Rosario after emerging the better fighter in a behind-closed-doors brawl.
The judges scorecards read Baraou winning the contest (115-113), overruled by judges Iko Bebic (115-114) and Oliver Brien (116-113) who scored in favor of Culcay in Friday’s main event which aired live on Sport 1 from Havelstudios in Berlin, Germany.
Now, the former interim-challenger has landed himself much closer to the top once again, after prevailing in what was percieved as Germany's 'Fight Of The Year' before the event.
The early rounds were even with very little to seperate between the two men, but in the third round 'The Golden Jack' began to evolve into the dominant character in the fight, asserting his control on the exchanges and consistently landing his left hook despite Baraou also landing some clean straight shots, leaving himself often vulnerable to the counter.
Back and forth remained the contest, with both fighters appeaing to respond to any concerted periods of pressure and remained aggressive and in each other's face throughout the fight, emerging into a brawl. But in round nine, a huge exchange followed with Baraou being caught with another explosive left hook, but immediately responding with a neat combination and firing back through the guard of Culcay and making yet another exchange seem relatively even on the scorecards.
Culcay seemed to lack energy in the latter stages of the tenth round lacking the pace and shot selection that Baraou seemed to possess,but came in more efficient and creative in round eleven, providing a barrage of connected shots on Baraou that appeared to tke the steam out of the 25-year-old.
Experience appeared to play a factor in the final round, with Culcay showing his relentless aggression and sheer volume of shots, with Baraou only able to land the odd straight shot and despite looking keen and sharp, could notmuscle his way into the lead on two of the judges scorecards.
Culcay advances to 29-4 (13KOs) with the win, his fourth in a row. Baraou suffers his first defeat, falling to 9-1 (6KOs) despite showing a resolute and confident attitude to the fight, and will sure to be a valuable fighter in the future, despite the defeat.