Daniel Jacobs outgunned Maciej Sulecki at the Barclays Center to become the mandatory challenger to Gennady Golovkin.
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The proud Brooklyn middleweight was pushed all the way by a spirited Sulecki before, having scored a final round knockdown, he took a unanimous decision via scores of 116-111, 117-110 and 115-112 to win the WBA final eliminator bout.
After the raucous home crowd roared Jacobs into the ring, it was actually Sulecki, unbeaten in 26 up to this fight, who landed a pair of clean right hands to take command of the fight in the first three minutes.
The Pole, jerking in and out of range, landed more hooks flush in the next to force Jacobs back, giving him an early lead over the somewhat surprised pre-fight favourite.
In the third, "Miracle Man" started to get a foothold and show his class, brilliant movement allowing him to land big bombs, but "Striczu" defiantly seemed undeterred.
The momentum further swung in favour of the New Yorker in the next few, clapping left hooks in the fourth halting the Polish contender in his tracks, before a rocking shot staggered Sulecki, 28, in the fifth after an entertaining firefight in the centre of the ring.
If there was a feeling in the Center that Jacobs would cruise to a points win from the midway point, his foe, intent on keeping his unbeaten record intact, had other ideas, regularly catching a frustrated Jacobs on the way in.
Sensing a shock victory and stimulated by his corner in-between rounds, Sulecki gave as good as he got from six to nine, matching the former world champion in closely-fought periods that could have gone either way on the scorecards.
The 10th saw Jacobs again show his class when it was very much needed, a beautifully timed left hook catching the eye in a round that saw the tide turn once more.
The man from Warsaw, whose reputation will have enhanced massively despite defeat, still regularly managed to breach the American"s defence though, but it was the Brooklyn man who found a thumping right cross in the last to send "Striczu" to the canvas.
The Pole returned to his feet and valiantly came back firing as the pair relentlessly traded leather to finish an all-action affair in New York.
Whether Jacobs will now get an immediate shot at Golovkin seems unlikely with the Kazakh - who also has lingering mandatory obligations with both the IBF and WBC - rumoured to be rematching "Canelo" Alvarez in the fall.
"He was a tough customer. I came prepared for everything he had, I was trying to go for the knockout because the fans wanted a good show," Jacobs said afterwards.
"I thought I done very well to grab a unanimous decision.
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"My corner told me I was up so I was confident going into the last round. I didn"t feel his power that it shook me up but he definitely showed he has power and grit and belongs at middleweight.
"Ultimately, we want the guys with the belts. If we can"t get them, we will go down the list. If Brooklyn wants
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