By Ian S Palmer
There’s a WBO super middleweight eliminator on Saturday, April 22nd as former light heavyweight contender Robin Krasniqi of Kosovo takes on former WBO super middleweight champ Arthur Abraham of Armenia at the Congress Center in Erfurt, Germany. Krasniqi is ranked number three by the WBO and Abraham is number two. The winner is supposed to meet WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez, who took the title from Abraham last year. Abraham’s last fight was an eighth-round TKO over Tim Robin Lihaug in July while Krasniqi’s last outing was a 12-round majority decision over Juergen Doberstein in July.
Both Abraham and Krasniqi have been fighting out of Germany for years now. The 30-year-old Krasniqi enters the bout with a record of 46-4 with 17 Kos. He’s challenged twice for world titles and was beaten both times by Nathan Cleverly and Juergen Braehmer. He’s won three in a row, but against Grade B/C opponents. He lost to then-WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly of Britain in April of 2013 by unanimous decision and WBA boss Braehmer stopped him after nine rounds in March of 2015 in Krasniqi’s only loss by stoppage.
Krasniqi has also been beaten by Adrian Cerneaga and Sven Haselhuhn by decisions, but these losses came way back in his pro debut and his third pro outing both in 2005. Krasniqi has 271 rounds under his belt since then and has beaten mainly domestic level opponents. When he stepped up in class against Cleverly and Braehmer he fell short. Krasniqi doesn’t have much in the way of power as his current knockout ratio is just 34 per cent. He stands 6-feet-4-inches tall and has a 74-inch reach.
Abraham lost his world title to undefeated Gilberto Ramirez by unanimous decision in Las Vegas last April after successfully defending it five times. The 37-year-old climbs into the ring with a mark of 45-5 with 30 Kos to his name. He has good power with a knockout ratio of 60 per cent, but doesn’t have one-punch knockout devastation in his fists. Abraham also has the edge in experience as he’s fought numerous world title bouts and has boxed 389 rounds since turning pro in 2003.
Abraham is at a disadvantage when it comes to size though as he’s 5-feet-9-inches tall with a 72-inch reach. He also has a solid chin as he’s been stopped just once. Abraham is still a dependable and durable boxer though even if he is past his prime. He’s a true world-class boxer who has taken on the likes of Martin Murray, Robert Stieglitz, Howard Eastman, Kingsley Ikeke, Shannon Taylor, Kofi Jantuah, Edison Miranda, Raul Marquez, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, and Andre Ward.
Besides losing to Ramirez last April, Abraham’s losses were to Stieglitz, Ward, Froch and Dirrell. Ward and Froch decisioned him while Abraham was disqualified in the last round against Dirrell and Stieglitz beat him by won by fourth-round TKO in 2013. Abraham used to have quite a bit of power, but has scored just two stoppages in his last 11 fights dating back to 2012. Abraham is also a former IBF Middleweight Champion who made 10 defences before moving up in weight to the 168 lb. division.
He took the WBO Super Middleweight crown in 2012 from Stieglitz, but lost the belt in a rematch the next year when the fight was stopped in the fourth round due to cuts. Abraham then took the title back from him via a split decision in 2014. world. Ramirez showed the boxing world that mobility and accurate counterpunching is the way to beat Abraham, but Krasniqi will find it’s not that easy to pull off if he tries the same tactics.
Abraham isn’t a huge puncher, but is still dangerous even though his skills are fading. He likes to work his way inside and dig to the body, but struggles sometimes when on the back foot. He should still have the experience and enough left to beat Krasniqi though.