Patrick Nielsen and Rudy Markussen both scored KO victories tonight at the Arena Nord in Frederikshavn to set up a Danish mega-fight later this year. The event was billed as ‘Collision Course’ with both men needing a victory to secure a blockbuster showdown, and the bitter rivals delivered with impressive performances against tough international opposition.
Nielsen, the current WBA International Super Middleweight Champion, was first to fight, sending a clear message to Markussen with a convincing knockout victory over Samir Santos Barbosa.
Nielsen took control of the fight from the opening round, working well behind his southpaw jab and proving too much for his outclassed opponent. A straight left sent Barbosa to the canvas in the second round, but the Brazilian was able to beat the count. In the fourth-round, Nielsen executed a perfect left hook to the liver, to ensure victory and a highly anticipated clash with his former teammate Markussen.
‘’I was pleased with my performance,’’ said Nielsen, who recorded his first KO victory since moving up to 168lbs earlier this year. ‘’It feels great to have got the stoppage. This is the first of many for me at super middleweight. From now on I’m only going to get better and better.
‘’I stuck to my game plan. I used my jab and looked for openings to unload my power punches. I thought I had him in the second but he beat the count and kept coming forward. But I found the opening in the fourth and hit him with a sweet shot to the liver. I knew there was no coming back from that.
‘’Now, I’m ready for the big fights. To me Rudy is just a stepping-stone on my way to challenge for World titles. He may have won tonight, but against me, he will taste defeat again and wish he never come out of retirement.’’
Markussen, who returned from a close to three-year absence from the ring, wasted little time in disposing of his Georgian opponent Ramazi Gogichashvili. Nicknamed the ‘Hard Hitter’, Markussen lived up to his alias by stopping Gogichashvili inside one round.
‘’It felt great to be back in the ring,’’ said Markussen. ‘’It took a lot of training and discipline to get in shape, and tonight, it paid off. I ruled the arena! Gogichashvili is not a bad fighter, and when he hit me, he hit me hard. The pressure was on but I delivered. He hit hard, but I hit harder. I’m still the ‘Hard Hitter’ and everyone knows it’s a big risk for Patrick to fight me.’’