By Alexey Sukachev (ringside)
Boxing can sometimes be shockingly wonderful only to hit you on the break a single moment later. It’s a cruel sport; one that is borderline legal in terms of humaneness. This axiom has once again been proved – by mischance – tonight at “Krilya Sovetov” sports arena in Moscow, Russia, leaving everybody in fear and illogical disbelief.
Photos: Evgueny Solodov
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After battling nine rounds with much better and skillful fighter in world-class bantamweight “Knight” Alexander Bakhtin (24-0, 11 KOs), 21-year old Uzbek journeyman Nosirjon Ruzimatov (6-4) came back to his corner only to remain on his stool during the break. Carefully watching after Ruzimatov, a doctor and Bakhtin’s manager Vladimir Hryunov immediately ran to the rapidly fainting Uzbek to take the tongue out of his mouth and saved him from asphyxia. That, however, hasn’t prevented the brave fighter from losing his consciousness. Emergency care was right here to place Ruzimatov on stretcher and to transport him to the local hospital by ambulance vehicle. It has later got known that the Uzbek pugilist had become the subject of cranial trepanation to remove blood clots from his brain. It was also rumored that he had suffered dehydration and spleen rupture during the fight. Nosirjon Ruzimatov is now in coma after the difficult surgery. The whole Russian boxing community is vehemently praying for his recovery. God, save the life of a fallen warrior!
Meanwhile, the fight was no way a proverbial mismatch one may have possibly predicted beforehand. WBC #3, WBA/IBF #6 and WBO #13 (as well as The Ring #10), fighting only the second time this year, looked rusty and not at his punishing best against the ordinary opponent. Bakhtin, who was competing for the first time in his homeland after spending no less than nine years in Japan, used his right uppercut well but too wide sometimes, his left was often way off target, while the hand speed and footwork didn’t allow him to finish Ruzimatov inside the distance. It turned out his bad shape resulted in more gradual punishment, suffered by the Uzbek, who continued to fight back even without a serious chance to beat stronger and more talented Bakhtin. The OPBF titlist, who still holds a record for the most consecutive defenses of Japanese 118lb belt in history, proved he is not ready to challenge any world titleholders right now.
“We pray for Nosir,” said Hryunov after the bout. “We hope he will recover from this beating and will save his health. As for Alexander,” continued the manager, “I won’t pit him against the elite of this division right away. We shall gradually improve and hone his fight skills before moving ahead. He is of the champions sort anyway.” Bakhtin will be back to the squared circle on Feb. 22, mosyt likely in Izhevsk against Italian Emiliano Salvini (13-9-1, 2 KOs) in a non-title ten-rounder.
The unlucky fight has also raised certain questions about some ways of matchmaking in Russian boxing. Uzbek fighters (sometimes literally starving and seriously dehydrated to make the weight limit), who often get a late call and compete almost immediately after taking a hard way from their native land, are on the receiving end during the vast majority of fights and are considerable underdogs here in Russia. Yet, they keep coming to earn just miserable money, which nevertheless exceeds their salary in homeland. For example, this particular show promoted in style by Union Boxing Management and staged without any considerable blunders featured Uzbek fighters in six out of nine bouts. For justice’s sake, the majority of them proved tough foes to overcome by local fighters this night and showed sound technical skills whatsoever.
In the best battle of the night, hard-punching MSMU student Alexey Makhnenko (6-1, 5 KOs) suffered his first career setback after an upset loss to Uzbek Bakhyt Abdurahimov (3-4, 1 KO). Bantamweight terror Makhnenko proved he was too raw and too predictable to make any step-ups in his career, failing to overcome Abdurahimov’s wise counter-punching, while taking some hard shots in return. Makhnenko relied on his fearsome punching power but showed no ability to apply it to the elusive opponent. The result was a majority decision in favor of the Uzbek guest. Fightnews scored it 58-56 – for Abdurahimov.
In the closing fight of the night, heavyweight Vladimir Tereshkin (12-0-1, 7 KOs) stopped veteran Sherzod Mamajanov (6-12, 2 KOs), who offered no resistance and no return fire. Mamajanov boasted much but hit sluggish Tereshkin rarely. He was also deducted a point in round four for ducking low. On the other hand, Tereshkin showed remarkable inability to finish his foe himself. The fight was stopped by Mamajanov’s corner after the fourth.
Light welterweight Andrey Klimov (6-0, 2 KOs) cut Uzbek Bobit Normatov (0-6-1, 4 KOs) in a single round. The bleeding was too profuse to let Normatov to continue, so the fight was stopped in round one. Light middleweight Arman Ovsepyan (7-1, 6 KOs) also proved his punching power, decking Ukrainian Denis Tupilenko (2-11) with the single left to the liver and for the count.
Andrey Bogdanov (10-1-1, 2 KOs) UD 8 Ravil Mukhamadiarov (7-34, 6 KOs)
Roman Andreev (8-0, 6 KOs) UD 6 Jahongir Rakhimov (0-5)
Sergey Ekimov (2-0, 1 KO) TKO 4 Andrey Monakhov (1-11, 1 KO)
Fedor Mushtranov (2-1, 1 KO) NC 2 Hurshid Madaminov (5-5, 1 KO)