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September 28, 2021
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A dream comes true: Lucian Bute successfully defends IBF title in Romania

On Saturday evening Bute defeated France’s Jean Paul Mendy through KO in round four of a great bout that took place within Bucharest’s 10,000-seat Romexpo Hall, a bout presented by the famous American announcer Michael Buffer. “I’ve been an athlete for 15 years but I’ve never felt like I felt this evening. (…) I’ve waited for this moment for four years. Unifying the belts is up next; next year I’ll come to Romania with two belts, I promise,” the 31-year-old champion born in Pechea commune, Galati County, stated.

The bout was balanced, the French boxer proving he can box on an equal footing. Bute however made the difference with a lightning strike, his powerful left jab knocking Mendy out. This was the Romanian champion’s 28th victory in 28 professional bouts.

After the game, encouraged by Romanian Boxing Federation President Rudel Obreja, Lucian Bute thanked Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea for organizing the gala in Romania, however the fans reacted with hostility when hearing the Minister’s name, booing for a long time. “I didn’t come to Romania to engage in political campaigning, I came here for the Romanians. This was my goal, to box in front of my fellow nationals. Romanians should be proud that we managed to organize this bout in Romania,” Lucian Bute stated during the press conference.

Approximately 400 people gathered in Bucharest’s Univer­sitatii Square immediately after the game in order to celebrate Bute’s victory. The champion, wearing a pink shirt, white trousers and a white hat, arrived there too and thanked the people that were chanting “honour him, honour the champion” and “we are Romanians.” Bute spent approximately ten minutes in the square.

Minister Elena Udrea announced on Sunday that Development Ministry earmarked EUR 1,9 M for this bout as part of a campaign to promote Romania’s image throughout the world and the event had about 4.5 million TV viewers audience. About the hostile reaction of the fans she said: “No good deed remains unpunished”.

Lucian Bute is undefeated in 29 bouts, 23 of which he won through KO. The Romanian won the IBF super middleweight title in 2007, defeating Columbia’s Alejandro Berrio in round 11 through KO. Bute successfully defended his title eight times: in February 2008 against America’s William Joppy (KO), in October 2008 against Mexico’s Librado Andrade, in March 2009 against Columbia’s Fulgencio Zuniga (technical KO), in November 2009 against Mexico’s Librado Andrade (KO), in April 2010 against Columbia’s Edison Miranda (KO), in October 2010 against America’s Jesse Brinkley (technical KO), in March 2011 against Ireland’s Brian Magee (KO, round 10) and in July 2011 against Jean Paul Mendy (KO, round 4).

“Lucian controled the fight,” said Bute’s trainer Stephan Larouche, quoted by cbc.ca. “It could have been complicated, but he boxed well. He had good defence. He controlled his distances. He was quicker. The intensity of the atmosphere was electric. It reminded me of Europeans when they win the World Cup. This was their World Cup. The match was shown on a giant screen outside and we went out to see the crowd. They were all singing. They were so proud.”

With this win Bute will reportedly look to take on Pavlik in November in a fight that will be shown on HBO. In the co-feature, also at Romexpo on Saturday night, Romanian featherweight Viorel Simion won the minor WBC International title when he dropped defending champ Jun Talape of the Philippines with a painful body shot in the ninth, while Romanian heavyweight fighter Bogdan Dinu defeated by KO in the first round Awadh Mohamed Tamim (Tanzania).

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