WBF light middleweight title champion Anne Sophie Mathis (27-4, 23 KO’s) put her title on the line Saturday night at the Anhalt Arena in Dessau, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, squaring off against WBF and WBO middleweight champion Christina Hammer (18-0, 8 KO’s) with the vacant WBO light middleweight title also up for grabs. The card was headlined by Robert Stieglitz’s WBO Inter-Continental super middleweight title win over Sergey Khomitsky.
This was Hammer’s first bout as a light middleweight in over four years, and hitting the scales at 152 ½ pounds, it was the lightest she had weighed for a fight to date. As the home fighter, coming in on a streak of 10 consecutive title bout wins with a height and reach advantage, she appeared to be the favorite against her French challenger.
Mathis is well known as the woman who brutally knocked out Holly Holm in 2011. A world champion in multiple weight classes for multiple sanctioning bodies, she had lost a return bout with Holm in 2012, her first loss since 1995, followed by a decision loss to Cecilia Braekhus later the same year. In June of 2013 she defeated Yahaira Hernandez in five rounds to win the vacant WBO light middleweight belt, her eighth world title.
Mathis was the aggressor from the start, but Hammer swept the first four rounds, her superior footwork and reach advantage allowing her to score from the outside and avoid any punches thrown her way. She did her fair share of holding when Mathis got in close; grabbing her arms or head whenever they were within reach. A warning was issued to the home fighter in the third round, and Mathis was becoming visibly frustrated with the tactics.
The stoppage took place in the opening seconds of the fifth frame; amid a combination of punches between the two fighters, Hammer grabbed the left arm of Mathis as she had done multiple times before. Mathis continued to punch with her free right hand, landing five punches to the head that dropped Hammer, who was barely able to get off the canvas and lay on the ring ropes as her handlers entered the ring. Referee Manfred Kuechler called an end to the contest, declaring Hammer the winner by disqualification; his official decision was DQ due to an illegal punch, claiming Mathis was hitting behind the head. Never mind the holding that nearly caused Mathis to be pulled down with Hammer as she fell.
The win gave Hammer the WBO and WBF light middleweight championships, her fifth and sixth world titles in a third weight division. It also stirred up some controversy, with many calling the fight a robbery and hundreds claiming that posts critical of Hammer were removed from the fighters Facebook page. Others defended the referee’s decision, agreeing with his view on the foul punches. The most logical view came from Sue TL Fox of the Women Boxing Archive Network, who stated in her own write up of the contest, “GERMANY—do what is right—throw this fight out on its EAR—-make it a NO CONTEST—and have a rematch with these two boxers”.
In a quick turn of events, that’s exactly what happened. Two days after the bout the WBF Executive Committee declared the bout a no-contest after an appeal was filed on Mathis’ behalf. A review of both the fight and the protest resulted in the WBF Vice President and WBF Executive Committee unanimously deciding on a no-contest ruling, which allows Mathis to retain her light middleweight title and strongly recommends, but doesn’t mandate a rematch. It’s assumed the WBO will follow suit and their light middleweight title will remain vacant.
In other weekend action, Fernanda Soledad Alegre (20-1-1, 10 KO’s) successfully defended her WBO light welterweight crown, making quick work of Dalia Vasarhelyi (9-6, 1 KO) in Argentina. Both fighters started out quickly, but it was Alegre, who was making the 10th defense of the title, that gained a quick edge and managed to end the action inside two rounds.
Fighting at close quarters, it was the champ who landed the more damaging blows, constantly mixing her head and body attack. By the midpoint of the first round, Alegre had a distinct advantage that carried over into the second frame. At the 30 second mark of round two, the champ worked Vasarhelyi into the corner and sustained her attack while the action moved to the other side of the ring. A series of unanswered shots on the challenger as she backed to the ropes prompted referee Gustavo Tomas to wave off the contest with 15 seconds left in the round.
This was Vasarhelyi’s third failure at a world title while Alegre extends her unbeaten streak to 19 fights, this being her fifth consecutive title defense that has ended inside the distance.
In Mexico, WBA minimum-weight champ Anabel Ortiz (15-3, 3 KO’s) had an early night, out-slugging Neisi Torres (12-3-1, 8 KO’s) to score a third round stoppage. The fight was stopped in the closing seconds of the round after the defending champ landed a series of thudding left hooks to the body of her opponent that went unanswered.
Ortiz is also the former holder of the WBC’s minimum-weight belt as well as their Silver title. In 2012 she challenged for two versions of the light flyweight title but lost a lopsided decision to Yesica Bopp. She’s since racked up five wins with three being world title contests. For Torres, this was her third try at world honors and her third time losing. She has yet to defeat an opponent with a winning record, or even an opponent with more than one win.