In a battle of former world title challengers longtime Heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin scored a dominant twelfth round technical knockout of Mariusz Wach Wednesday night at the Basket Hall Arena in Kazan, Russia. After having some difficulty early on dealing with the height and reach of the 6’ 7 Wach, Povetkin systematically picked his shots using lateral movement to execute his offense in spurts.
Although Wach was very “Game” in taking whatever Povetkin threw at him, he was unable to land anything significant to break Povetkin’s rhythm or his ability to land combinations. As the fight progressed the question in this observer’s mind was whether or not Wach would be able to go the distance. The accumulation of punishment gradually took its toll on Wach, who by the twelfth and final round was showing signs of fatigue as well as a bad cut under his left eye. It was the condition of the cut, which would ultimately cause Referee Jay Nady to stop the fight in round twelve on the advice of a ringside physician giving Povetkin a convincing victory.
Alexander Povetkin advances to 30-1, with 22 Knockouts. Mariusz Wach falls to 31-2, with 17 Knockouts. The victory keeps Povetkin, who is currently rated number one in the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Heavyweight ratings in line for a mandatory challenge of undefeated WBC world champion Deontay Wilder sometime in 2016.
Also on this card, in a battle to determine interim/regular champion status in the World Boxing Association’s Cruiserweight ratings Denis Lebedev scored an eighth round stoppage over previously undefeated former world title challenger Lateef Kayode. This fight had several close rounds early on as both fighters looked to execute their respective offense in spurts. Lebedev however, was gradually able to land the cleaner more effective punches of the two and generally was able to get his punches off first.
In round seven Lebedev was credited with a questionable knockdown that appeared to be more of a push. Lebedev however, would remove all questions regarding the knockdown in round seven by violently dropping Kayode twice more in round eight forcing Referee Steve Smoger to stop the fight.
Denis Lebedev advances to 28-2, with 21 Knockouts. Lateef Kayode falls to 21-1, with 16 Knockouts.
It will be interesting to see what will happen for Lebedev in regard to his current standing in the WBA’s Cruiserweight ratings coming out of this fight. Readers may recall the controversy this observer discussed regarding the announcement last week of the upcoming fight between former world champions Roy Jones and Enzo Maccarinelli as being for the WBA Cruiserweight world championship.
Although the WBA was quick to deny that it had sanctioned Jones-Maccarinelli as being for it’s Cruiserweight world championship, it will nevertheless be interesting to see whether or not Lebedev will be named full WBA champion seeing as the full championship is vacated or if he will now be placed in a fight to determine a new champion. For now, there are more questions than answers in regard to the WBA’s Cruiserweight ratings and it appears that it will take time to sort out.
In a battle for the International Boxing Organization (IBO) Cruiserweight world championship longtime contender Ola Afolabi scored a devastating fifth round knockout over IBO world champion Rakhim Chakhkiev. Chakhkiev was extremely aggressive throughout much of this fight putting seemingly everything he had into every punch he threw. For a period of time Chakhkiev was able to keep Afolabi on the defensive. Despite Chakhkiev throwing every punch with knockout intent, Afolabi was able to weather the storm without incurring much damage.
Afolabi however, did suffer a bad cut over his left eye in round three as a result of an accidental clash of heads. As the fight progressed Afolabi was able to slow the pace of the fight down and have periods of effectiveness behind a consistent jab. In the fifth round the fight would come to a dramatic conclusion. Afolabi was able to drop Chakhkiev with what appeared to be a right hand, but it was ruled a slip by Referee Grezgorz Molenda. Moments later however, Afolabi would knock Chakhkiev out cold with a brutal right/left combination to the head.
Ola Afolabi advances to 22-4, with 11 Knockouts. Rakhim Chakhkiev falls to 24-2, with 18 Knockouts.
Also in the Cruiserweight division, in what could best be described as a “Shootout”, Olanrewaju Durodola scored a thrilling second round knockout over previously undefeated Dmitry Kudryashov. Both fighters came out swinging from the opening bell and Kudryashov was able to stagger Olanrewaju along the ropes. Olanrewaju however, would turn the tables on Kudryashov in the second round when he was able to land a flush right hand that staggered Kudryashov. This would set off a barrage of brutal punches that had Kudryashov out on his feet against the ropes forcing Referee Jay Nady to stop the fight.
Although there were no official knockdowns in this fight, Jay Nady should be applauded for stepping in when he did to prevent Kudryashov from suffering further punishment as he was clearly unable to defend himself and may have been at risk of being seriously injured had the bout continued. The fight, which was for the WBC Silver Cruiserweight title essentially moves Durodola into a mandatory position to challenge current WBC world champion Grigory Drozd.
Olanrewaju Durodola advances to 22-2, with 20 Knockouts. Dmitry Kudryashov falls to 18-1, with 18 Knockouts.
In the Welterweight division undefeated prospect Vishkan Murzabekov scored a third round knockout over Solomon Bogere. Murzabkov dropped Bogere with a right hand late in round two. Bogere was barely able to beat the count, but Murzabekov would not let him off the hook, scoring three more knockdowns in round three. Bogere suffered a brutal left hook to the head as he was dropped for the fourth and final time before the fight was finally stopped.
Vishkan Murzabekov advances to 12-0, with 6 Knockouts. Solomon Bogere falls to 13-3, with 10 Knockouts.
In a unification bout of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and IBO Jr. Welterweight world championships and a battle of undefeated world champions IBO world champion Eduard Troyanovsky scored a sixth round technical knockout over IBF world champion Cesar Cuenca. In a fight that was fought at a tactical pace Troyanovsky was able to get the better of most of the exchanges and won virtually every round based on his being the more active of the two fighters. Troyanovsky also was able to open a cut over Cuenca’s left eye in round five. In round six the fight was brought to an “Inconclusive” ending as after both fighters went down to the canvas as a result of being tangled in the ropes Cuenca mysteriously quit. Cuenca’s corner was irate at the stoppage and attempted to raise the hand of Referee David Fields.
Eduard Troyanovsky advances to 23-0, with 20 Knockouts. Cesar Cuenca falls to 48-1, with 2 Knockouts.
Despite the strange ending of this fight, Eduard Troyanovsky has established himself as the only unified world champion currently in the Jr. Welterweight division and it will be interesting to see what opportunities may be in store for him in the division going forward. For Cesar Cuenca, there are more questions than answers coming out of this fight and one has to wonder whether there will be any disciplinary action taken by the IBO, IBF, or the Russian Boxing Federation for the actions of Cuenca’s corner following the stoppage.
In the Light-Heavyweight division undefeated prospect Dmitry Bivol scored a fourth round knockout over Jackson Junior. A counter right hand from Bivol ended the fight in round four. Although Junior was able to beat the count he was unable to respond to Referee Pint Prayadsab’s questions of whether he wanted to continue resulting in the fight being stopped.
Dmitry Bivol advances to 5-0, with 5 Knockouts. Jackson Junior falls to 19-5, with 17 Knockouts.
This card provided a little bit of everything. Action, Entertainment, Excitement, and Knockouts. It is rare especially on a card that features a mix of world championship fights as well as bouts featuring top contenders to see every single bout on a card end with a knockout. This card was a rare exception and should provide a couple of interesting storylines particularly in the Cruiserweight division that was a major focal point of this card. It will be interesting to see if Denis Lebedev, Olanrewaju Durodola, and Ola Afolabi find themselves as potential opponents for each other in the future.
As for Alexander Povetkin, although some may be critical of him for having trouble getting the stoppage over Mariusz Wach he was impressive in the sense of dominating an opponent who had only previously lost to unified IBF/WBO/WBA/IBO Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko in his career. As devastating as Klitschko has been throughout his career in knocking out nearly 80% of his opponents, Klitschko was unable to stop Wach within the distance so Povetkin succeeded in becoming the only fighter thus far to stop a very “Game” Mariusz Wach.
In terms of his pending mandatory challenge of WBC world champion Deontay Wilder, it will be interesting to see exactly when that will take place. The WBC has approved an elective defense for Wilder to take place in January 2016. As of this writing Wilder’s opponent for what will be his third title defense remains unknown.
The seven-bout card headlined by Povetkin-Wach however, should ultimately be viewed as an entertaining night of Boxing where fans got their money’s worth and got more than their share of knockouts. There is not much more a Boxing fan can ask for.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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