Despite cut above eye, Zeuge beats Ekpo to retain WBA belt

POTSDAM, Germany (AP) " Tyron Zeuge retained his WBA super middleweight title by unanimous decision over Isaac Ekpo of Nigeria despite the bout stopping in the fifth round due to a cut above his eye on Saturday.

The unbeaten German shaded the opening rounds but clashed heads with Ekpo in the third, opening the large cut over his right eye. Accidental head-butt, said the referee, who allowed the fight to proceed.

Encouraged by blood streaming from the wound, Ekpo dominated the next round as Zeuge held on with his vision impaired. The ring doctor checked the cut in the fifth and the bout was ended when he had to check it again.

"You train for 12 weeks for such a fight and then that happens," Zeuge said. "We're fighters, we want to fight."

The judges awarded it 49-46, 48-47 and 49-47 to Zeuge, making the first defense of the title he won by beating Italy's Giovanni De Carolis last November at the same venue near Berlin, his hometown.

Zeuge, trained by former two-time world champion Juergen Braehmer, improved to 19-0-1 (11 KOs), while the Don King-promoted Ekpo, who'd initially thought he'd won by TKO, dropped to 31-3 (24 KOs).

"For it to end like that is annoying," Braehmer said.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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