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BOXING

Pro boxing returns to Sweden

After a 26 year wait professional boxing is back on the bill in Sweden.

The new national Martial Arts Delegation has given a pro boxing gala in Gothenburg the go-ahead. On January 27th next year two combatants will fight for the honour of winning the country’s first pro boxing match for over a quarter of a century.

The event organisers, New Sweden Boxning Promotion AB, were primarily granted permission because they agreed to adapt the rules to correspond to the stringent safety requirements of amateur boxing.

The bouts may not last longer than 12 minutes and ringside doctors can stop a fight at any time. Protective headgear will not however be necessary.

Swedish boxer Armand Krajnc may be nearing the end of his career but he is delighted to be involved in the Gothenburg gala.

“It’s so nice that there are still sensible people in Sweden. But it has taken far too long.

“It’s great to get the chance to finish off in my own country,” Krajnc told Dagens Nyheter.

Speaking to the same newspaper, Sweden’s most famous boxer, Paolo Roberto, is ecstatic.

“Freedom at last!” said Roberto, who has long campaigned for the legalisation of pro boxing.

Only four other countries have banned professional boxing. Neighbouring Norway is one. The others are Iran, Cuba and North Korea.

“Such wonderful company we keep,” Roberto told Aftonbladet.

A promoter seeking permission to stage a potential World Boxing Association title fight in Stockholm’s Globen arena had his application turned down.

“The reason is that they wanted to box over twelve rounds,” Roberto told Aftonbladet.

While Sweden today put its pro gloves back on it is not quite ready for an immediate return to professional boxing as regulated by the world federations.

BOXING

Swedish boxer Badou Jack misses title after draw with Canada’s Adonis Stevenson

Haitian-born Canadian Adonis Stevenson retained his World Boxing Council light-heavyweight title on Saturday after fighting Sweden's Badou Jack to a majority draw in which no judge scored him a winner.

Swedish boxer Badou Jack misses title after draw with Canada's Adonis Stevenson
Badou Jack (L) punches Adonis Stevenson (R) during their WBC Light Heavyweight title fight in Toronto on Saturday. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFP
Stevenson, a 40-year-old southpaw, kept the title after two judges scored the bout 114-114 and the third saw Jack as a 115-113 winner in the title bout at Toronto. In a fight nobody lost, both fighters saw themselves as winners.
 
“I thought I definitely won the fight,” Jack said. “No judge had him winning.”
 
Stevenson's record went to 29-1-1 while Jack settled for his third career draw against 22 wins and a lone defeat.
 
“I feel I win the fight,” Stevenson said. “I hurt him in the body. He got slowed down. I keep pressure on him. He moved slick but I touched him more all the time. I think I win this fight.”
 
All three judges awarded Jack the 12th round to lift him into the draw, which could set the stage for a title rematch.
 
“I feel I win this fight but Badou is a good fighter, two-time world champion,” Stevenson said. “I can give him a rematch if he needs one.”
 
Jack is ready, but wants Stevenson to fight outside Canada for the first time since September 2011. On Twitter, the Swedish slugger set the stage for another bout against the Canadian. 
“Let's do a rematch. Let's do it in Vegas,” Jack said. “I came to his place. Now it's his turn to come to my place.”
 
Jack settled for a draw two fights ago in January 2017 with James DeGale and wondered if the fact he is promoted by retired unbeaten champion Floyd Mayweather played a role in his struggles to get more than draws.
 
“I have no idea,” Jack said. “It could be they are jealous of Floyd. I'm one of Floyd's top fighters. I don't know. I can't do anything about it. I'm not the judge. I've got to respect.”
 
Stevenson extended the second-longest active reign in boxing. He knocked out Chad Dawson for the crown in 2013 and since then stopped six of eight prior foes with two other victories by unanimous decision.
 
Stevenson, who had not fought since stopping Poland's Andrzej Fonfara last June in Montreal, dominated early but struggled late as Jack, with Mayweather at ringside cheering him on, bloodied the champion's nose in the eighth round and controled the pace to the finish.
 
Jack, a 2008 Olympian for his father's homeland of Gambia, owned the WBC super-middleweight crown from 2015 to 2017 and stopped Britain's Nathan Cleverly last August for the World Boxing Association crown, but relinquished the title for the chance to fight Stevenson.