A MAJORITY decision was ridiculous. The 43-year-old Felix Sturm looked like a clear loser to Hungary’s Istvan Szili after 12 rounds at the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund on Saturday (March 26).

The first event from LIB Boxpromotion was the first big show in Germany in over two years. The company, headed up by Hamburg commercial landlord Ludger Inholte, wants to bring big-time boxing back into the country and revive it with new, bigger names. But there was nothing new about Sturm.

The crude Szili, no spring chicken himself at 39, would have been a straightforward assignment for a peak Sturm. After a spell in prison, the former IBF and WBA middleweight belt-holder was hoping for another title shot, this time at 168lbs, but he had struggled to impress in his comeback that began at the end of 2020. But the signs were not good. In June last year, he was booed in Hamburg in June while getting the verdict over James Kraft.

Sturm was cut by the third and he bled throughout. Szili’s plan had been simple: To get close and punch, and not punch hard, but often. It did not take long before Sturm realised he simply didn’t have it anymore.

In the fourth and the fifth, Sturm stepped back twice and shook his head. The fouling and the low punches (Szili treated the low-blow rule as merely a suggestion at times) didn’t help but Sturm was fighting like a man who could sense the end approaching. Szili took away Sturm’s jab, his legs, and finally his hope.

The fight went 12 rounds and Sturm looked tired at the end. And not just tired from the fight, but tired of the grind to get his body back into shape. As soon as the scorecards (114-114, 115-113 and 116-112) were announced he left the ring and went to his changing room.

Inholte said he would never work with him again and talked of his ‘arrogance’.

Sturm wasn’t the only spent force on the card. Much earlier, former IBF super-welterweight belt-holder Kassim Ouma, who like Sturm is now 43 and fighting at super-middle, also looked like a shadow of his former self as he lost a wide decision after eight rounds to South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg.