With a title shot on the line, Former WBO middleweight champion Hassan N’Dam used every inch of the ring to defeat the hard hitting Curtis Stevens via unanimous decision during the IBF Middleweight title eliminator on Wednesday night at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica California.

Keeping his distance

Right from the opening bell, the 30-year old Cameroonian born N’Dam (31-1 with 18 knockouts) knew what he had to do to win. He effectively played matador against the bull strong Stevens (27-4 with 20 knockouts) and kept his distance all night long. N’Dam controlled the bout with his boxing as he worked behind a consistent jab and circled away from Stevens’ vaunted left hook to avoid the heavy bombs.

Sealing the deal

The fight, which lacked the action that Stevens wanted, had its best moment in the 8th round when N’Dam decked Stevens with a short right hand that landed on Stevens’ temple. The knockdown sealed the deal for N’Dam who won by unanimous decision with the scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 119-108. The victory gives him the first crack at the winner of the October 8 bout between Sam Soliman and Jermain Taylor.

Frustrating Stevens

N’Dam’s game plan visibly frustrated Stevens who was never able to explode during the fight. Stevens stalked N’Dam through twelve rounds, looking for a big shot that never came. He did not utilize his jab and failed to work N’Dam’s body.

While Stevens appeared to hurt N’Dam a couple of times during the bout, but he was visibly frustrated by the constant movement of his opponent. He even went all out in the final round in an attempt to duplicate his dramatic last round KO win against Tureano Johnson last April. Again, he appeared to hurt N’Dam but it proved to be too late for the Brooklyn native as the final bell then sounded.

In the end, it was N’Dam’s ring generalship that frustrated Stevens who dropped his first bout since losing to Gennady Golovkin last November. On the other hand, N’Dam has won three consecutive bouts since losing the WBO middleweight title to Peter Quillin in October 2012. N’Dam was floored six times during that bout and he went on to lose via unanimous decision after giving up too many points with those knockdowns.

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