Arthur Abraham successfully defended his WBO super-middleweight title with a split-decision victory over Martin Murray in Hannover, Germany.
- 115-112 Abraham
- 112-115 Murray
- 116-111 Abraham
Both fighters took the centre of the ring in a standoff early on; Murray established his jab and looked to double it up in order to score shots. Abraham, as usual, held a tight and high guard to block punches but the majority of Murray's success came when he strung combinations together.
In the second, Murray continued his positive start with solid combinations. As seen in the first round, single punches were being easily blocked by Abraham so the Briton, at any chance, landed quick combos to the head and body. The champion did also find his own success with solid shots upstairs.
Murray continued to land combinations but then to avoid counter punches from Abraham he quickly slipped out of range and regathered himself. But despite being the much busier fighter, the challenger was stunned hard in the third as Abraham began to find range with the overhand right. Murray recovered well, but would then be told off by the referee for a low blow on Abraham.
Abraham gradually upped the tempo of his punching and caught Murray with stiff right hands on multiple occasions. Murray continued to hold his own, but was also nailed hard by a left hook upstairs. Everytime Abraham, traditionally in his case, rushed into the attack during the last 30 seconds of a round, Murray grabbed hold in order to prevent his onslaught.
Murray had started well, but the usually slow-started began to close his lead down. Solid jabs often followed by straight right hands put Murray in retreat, while the challenger also strangely dropped his hands which caused further punishment coming from Abraham's attack.
Murray had to take big risks in order to win, but he failed to do that in any of the first six rounds. He landed sweet, eye-catching shots at times, however Abraham was rarely shaken by Murray's attacks. Of course, Murray lacks power, but it seemed he was trying to 'steal' the rounds, instead of convincingly secure them like all non-German fighters must do in Germany.
In the eighth, Murray came out with much more intent. He got the jab pumping once again and had Abraham backing up onto the ropes on several occasions. The problem that remained for Murray was his power; whenever he had Abraham backed up on the defence he was unable to at least put him on the floor.
Both fighters began to tire, but discipline stood firm. Murray, who needed this all fight, landed a terrific right hand that shook Abraham and sent him retreating to the ropes. Murray quickly followed on the attack but the incredibly tight guard of The German prevented him from landing any more clean punches.
A round after Murray landed some of his best punches, Abraham would come on strong. Not only is the champion immovable, but he's ruthless when firing his own assaults. Big right hands reined in but Murray often absorbed them well and partially blocked them.
Late in the fight, the worse possible scenario occurred for Murray. He had a point deducted. He should have no complaints either, the Brit grabbed hold way too many times and the lenient referee saw enough.
Oliver Harrison seemed confident his fighter was ahead on the scorecards and told Murray that Abraham would get "desperate" - how wrong he would be. The German finished strongly in the final round both attacking and defensively.
The final bell sounded and Martin Murray embraced with his team, while Arthur Abraham also looked confident of victory.
It went to the scorecards, and two judges scored the fight in favour of Abraham, and one for Murray.
Official result: Arthur Abraham defeats Martin Murray by split decision.