Belgium’s Femke Hermans Upsets Germany’s Nikki Adler
By Phil Woolever
Belgium’s Femke Hermans defied the odds and defeated local favorite Nikki Adler for the vacant WBO Super-Middleweight Championship in Augsburg, Germany.
Hermans,165, earned her new belt with a consistent game plan and solid boxing skills that kept Adler, 164 ½, off balance for most of the fight.
What was supposed to be Adler’s (16-2, 9 KOs) return to the championship ranks turned out to be a disappointing evening for her many fans at a converted ice arena in her adopted hometown on Saturday night.
It was Hermans (7-1, 3 KOs) who remained cool under pressure.
The relatively uneventful contest began mostly even as the boxers parried jabs with little punishment.
The difference in the opening session was how Hermans switched her stance back and forth as she fired from odd angles. Adler got more aggressive but she was not effective and her timing seemed off.
Adler picked up a little steam by the middle rounds but she still took more punches than she landed.
The crowd clapped in unison and chanted for Adler, but it didn’t inspire any fireworks. Eventually, Herman’s consistency quieted them down.
Some rounds were very close and there were some good exchanges down the stretch, but much of the action was sloppy.
They wrestled more and more in the 9th and 10th, as Adler looked gassed and appeared to be hanging on.
Adler finally managed to shorten the distance and landed a few good right hands before the final bell, but it looked like too little too late.
Adler’s hometown promotion maintained admirably high standards throughout the course of the event and the scorecards were announced quickly and the judges tabbed it exactly right at 97-93, 98-93 and 98-92.
ThePrizefighters.com scored it 100-93, with three rounds even but none for Adler. It simply looked like Hermans was working like she wanted to almost all of the time.
“I can’t believe it,” said Hermans as she addressed the crowd with tears of joy. “I knew it would be hard, but I kept trying and trusted I could do it. I need to thank all the people who helped me, and I dedicate this fight to my brother-in-law and his girlfriend.”
“She was the better fighter tonight, and I must thank her for coming here and putting on such a good fight,” said Adler, who was a model of sportsmanship despite the painful result.
“I am also thankful for all the fans who gave me such great support and came here on my behalf. I’m sorry things didn’t work out better but it was still a great event.”
Immediately after the contest there was talk of a rematch. Both fighters seemed amenable, but whether that happens or not doesn’t seem very likely, at least not in the near future.
It’s unclear what Adler’s plans may be. She was the driving force behind tonight’s card. Hopefully, she’ll keep fighting whether this was just an off night or not.
Any sport can use as many role models like Adler as it can get, and her participation in the event hints that she could become a fine promoter in women’s boxing.
Future bouts and other results
Meanwhile, Hermans had a match penciled in without an announced opponent for late June in Belgium, but that seems unlikely now that there are bigger fish to fry.
Hermans also has a September rematch scheduled with Ester Konecna, who she beat in 2017.
Both those appointments were set for six rounds.
Instead, Hermans will probably be dealing with 10 round situations in the immediate future.
A unification rematch with WBA titlist Alicia Napoleon, who topped Hermans last March in the US, is another possibility.
For tonight, it should also be noted that on an undercard including five other fights involving men, the opening bout between female flyweights Sarah Bormann and Claudia Ferenczi was probably the most artful preliminary of the bunch.
Bormann, now 5-0 (5 KO), won by TKO in the 7th frame, after showing solid potential. Ferenczi was definitely outclassed, but she never gave up and made a fight of it. Her record is now 16-64-7 (!).
It wasn’t the best of times for still classy Nikki Adler, but it was indeed a good night for women’s boxing overall.