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Wlodarczyk knocks out Fragomeni in 8, claims vacant cruiserweight title

Krzyztof Wlodarczyk claimed his second title in defeating Giacobbe Fragomeni.
Krzyztof Wlodarczyk claimed his second title in defeating Giacobbe Fragomeni.

In Lodz, Poland, former titlist Krzyzstof "Diablo" Wlodarczyk scored an eighth round technical knockout over Giacobbe Fragomeni to claim the vacant WBC cruiserweight title.  This was the rematch of a bout where the two battled to a draw about a year ago.  

From the very beginning, it was apparent that this was not the same Giacobbe Fragomeni who had given David Haye a hard fight, who beat Rudolf Kraj and who previously drew with Diablo.  While the mind was there the body did not follow.  Fragomeni was never the strongest puncher in the world, and at 40 years old, he had lost just enough speed that most of his shots were getting blocked and that he couldn't avoid Wlodarczyk's jab.

After two relatively uneventful rounds, Wlodarczyk locked into cruise control and started to take advantage of Fragomeni, landing the harder shots throughout.  In the sixth round, Wlodarczyk wobbled Fragomeni with a big right hand, and while Fragomeni tried valiantly to fight his way out of trouble, eventually he succumbed to Wlodarczyk's shots and was knocked down.  The seventh round was Fragomeni's best round of the night.  Knowing he was down (under WBC rules, there was open scoring) and having just been knocked down to dig himself a nearly insurmountable hole, Fragomei tried his best to just plain overwhelm Wlodarczyk, but there simply wasn't any power behind his copious arm punches.

At the beginning of the eighth round, Woldarczyk regained control.  A right uppercut found its way through Fragomeni's guard, which hurt the Italian and caused him to stumble back into a corner.  Wlodarczyk chased him down, and the two traded with nonstop punching for about 20 seconds.  Diablo, however, got the better of the exchange, as Fragomeni collapsed into a heap after a series of body shots.  Fragomeni got up, but his eyes told the referee that he did not want to continue, and the referee waived off the fight.

As an aside, Polish boxing fans have to be some of the best in the world.  We've all seen Polish boxing fans show up in force at Tomasz Adamek fights, but even at home fights, they're loud and classy.  While they're always in full support of their fighter, they often tend to cheer the action, as opposed to only their fighter's action.  Nothing really happened the first couple rounds of this bout, but by listening to the crowd, you would think they were watching a complete war.  And while their man won, they also gave a round of applause for Fragomeni.  This was in stark contrast to the West Ham fans earlier this evening, who booed Michael Katsidis after his win over Kevin Mitchell and showed absolutely zero respect to anyone other than their man.  

Wlodarczyk improves to 43-2-1 and wins a title for the second time in his career.  For Fragomeni, this may well be the end of the line.  As an undersized tough guy without a lot of power, he probably outperformed his wildest expectations in terms of a boxing career, and having won a title late in his career, he has a lot to be proud of. Classy as usual, he raised Wlodarczyk's arm in victory after the fight was over.  

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