‘King’ Arthur Abraham (41-4, 28 KOs) retained his WBO title with a unanimous points decision against Paul Smith (35-4, 20 KOs) in Kiel, Germany. After twelve rounds of non-stop action in front of a sell-out crowd at the Sparkassen-Arena the judges scored the fight 117-111, 117-111 and 119-109 in favor of King Arthur.
‘’It was a tough fight,’’ said Abraham. ‘’Paul Smith was by no means an easy opponent and he made me work hard for the win. I was pleased with my performance. I feel that I have proved to myself, to my coach Ulli Wegner and to my fans that I still have what it takes. I’m not in decline and I look forward to more successful defenses of my WBO title.’’
The challenger Smith more than played his part in a competitive contest and was left disappointed with the judges’ decision. ‘’First and foremost I’d like to say that I have a lot of respect for Arthur Abraham,’’ said the Liverpudlian. ‘’He is a great champion and tonight we had a great fight. But I think the judges got it wrong. I’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity. I just wanted a fair crack at the whip and I don’t think I got that.’’
There were immediate calls for a rematch by Team Smith. When pressed on the possibility of a return fight ‘King Arthur’ admitted he would be willing to face the British boxer again. ‘’Of course I would fight Paul again,’’ said the Armenian-born German. ‘’I’m sure it would be another exciting fight. However the circumstances would need to be right. At the moment the most interesting fight for me would be Sturm or Stieglitz.’’
Said promoter Kalle Sauerland: ‘’Both fighters played their part in an extremely entertaining fight. I have a lot of respect Paul, his family and his team. He did himself proud tonight. But Arthur has shown yet again that he belongs at the top of the division. A rematch with Paul is a possibility but first we will be looking at the winner of Felix Sturm and Robert Stieglitz.’’