By Alexey Sukachev and K2 East
WBA I/C light middleweight titlist Zaurbek Baysangurov (23-1, 17 KOs) retained his title by the fifth round TKO over Frank (Faruk) Shabani (18-2-0, 6 КОs) on Saturday night at the Yunost Sport Palace in Zaporizhya, Ukraine. Baysangurov against Shabani headlined a huge boxing fight card, billed the “Champions league” and held by the K2 East Promotions company of the Klitschko brothers in this Ukrainian city in the southeast of Ukraine. Shabani suffered a left hand injury, forcing referee Jose Ignacio Martinez to wave the contest off and to declare Kiev-based Russian the winner during the break before round six.
Photos: K2 East
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Starting from round one Baysangurov, previously ranked #6 by the WBA, #7 by the WBC and #12 by the WBO, was the aggressor being a bigger man in the squared circle. However, Shabani won the first stanza due thanks to several fast combinations, which he managed to throw at his rival while counterpunching. In round two, Baysangurov started using his left hand more often, which quickly resulted in several good punches on his behalf, which landed accurately on his opponent’s head. After having felt champion’s punching power, Shabani decreased his counter attacks in tempo and number to some extent; however, he had his good moments in the stanza as well. In round three, Zaurbek was even more dominating. After the end of the stint Shabani complained to his corner that he had just injured his left hand. During the next two rounds Baysangurov effectively utilized his jab, which he combined from time to time with huge left hooks and completely overpowered Shabani, who could not use his left hand fully due to a seemingly severe. During the break between rounds 5 and 6 the German fighter complained about his injury again and the Spanish referee stopped the bout.
Baysangurov is expected to be ranked #3 by the WBA, and his recent win over Shabani will most probably fructify in giving him the right to fight in the WBA title eliminator; the winner of which gets a shot at the WBA light middleweight title, being currently owned by Yuri Foreman.
In the co-main event unbeaten Ukrainian light middleweight Dmitry Nikulin (20-0-0, 7 КОs) celebrated the biggest win of his boxing career so far, when he stopped tough Uzbek Abdulaziz Matazimov (10-4-0, 4 КОs) in three rounds. Nikulin was furiously supported by hundreds of his fans from his hometown of Melitopol, located not so far from Zaporizhia.
Nikulin was a smarter and faster fighter during the first two rounds, throwing good combinations which, however, lacked power to some extent. Nothing pointed to an early stoppage since Matazimov demonstrated good skills in defense and ability to counterpunch. It looked like the fighters would go the distance but in round three Nikulin after several accurate but light blows to his opponent’s head all of a sudden landed a perfect, blistering left to the liver. Matazimov folded in two and sank to the canvas, his face distorted in pain. He was unable to beat the referee’s count, and thus 25-year old Dmitry Nikulin captured a vacant WBO European light middleweight – the fist belt of his pro career.
Moving down to light heavyweight division, local favorite Vitaly Rusal (25-1, 18 KOs) won his second fight in a row, stopping Uzbek Abror Oripov (3-2-1) after the third round. Rusal, whose only loss was to the reigning WBO cruiserweight champion Marko Huck in May, took some time to adjust his boxing style to an awkward and long-armed rival, before he started to deliver bombs from round two. Oripov took merciless punishment at the end of round three, which forced him to retire during the break. Coming back after an upset loss to unheralded South African Kaizer Mabuza, Sergey “Professor” Fedchenko (24-1, 11 KOs) notched a wide decision over notably rugged and raw Uzbek Sherzodbek Mamajanov (8—3-4, 5 KOs). Scores were 80-72 on all three judges’ scorecards. 2008 Beijing super heavyweight bronze medalist Nyacheslav Glazkov (3-0, 1 KO) got his first stoppage victory, when his opponent Stas Belokon (3-3, 1 KO) retired after the first.
Andrey Rudenko (16-0, 9 KOs) TKO 3 Avaz Rustamov (2-4, 1 KO)
Alexander Spirko (7-0, 4 KOs) TKO 2 Alexander Nosikov (0-7)
Salambek Baysangurov (4-0, 2 KOs) UD 4 Nikolay Korenev (0-1)
Vitaly Nevesely (4-0, 3 KOs) TKO 3 Sergey Shitikov (0-1)
Alexey Bondarenko (2-0, 2 KOs) KO 1 Arsen Babayan (0-2)