Abraham stops Ikeke to win IBF middleweight title

Updated: December 12, 2005, 12:11 PM ET
Associated Press

LEIPZIG, Germany -- Armenia's Arthur Abraham stopped Nigeria's Kingsley Ikeke in the fifth round to win the vacant IBF middleweight title on Saturday.

Abraham improved to 20-0 with 18 knockouts as he took the title vacated by Little Rock's Jermain Taylor. Ikeke, ranked second by the IBF, fell to 23-2.

"It was his fight, not mine -- I couldn't stop him," Ikeke said.

Abraham had no trouble hitting the 6-foot-4 Nigerian. By the fourth round, he was taunting Ikeke, and Abraham's corner told him to stop showing off.

In the fifth, Abraham knocked Ikeke into the ropes with a left, and after several more shots the referee pulled him off Ikeke.

"It may not have looked like it tonight, but I think he beat a world-class guy," said Abraham's trainer Uli Wegner.

Taylor voluntarily gave up the belt when he elected to fight Bernard Hopkins on Dec. 3 rather than a mandatory defense in the IBF.

Taylor defeated Hopkins on July 16 to become the undisputed middleweight champion. He was under contract to fight the IBF's No. 1 contender in his next bout but instead chose to fight Hopkins again.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press