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Abraham stops Ikeke to win IBF middleweight title

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.