By Wolfgang Schiffbauer
While most the attention was on light heavyweight contender Jürgen Brähmer last Saturday in Oberhausen, Germany, there was another fighter on the card who also took a major step forward. When unbeaten heavyweight Denis Boytsov entered the ring around midnight to face the toughest opponent in WBA #2 Taras Bidenko, it was crossroads in the career of the 23-year-old Russian prospect. Around 25 minutes later, a lot of questions were answered. Boytsov scored a devastating knockout in the sixth round, leaving the career of his Universum Box-Promotion stablemate in doubt, while raising his own status from heavyweight prospect to a serious and hard-hitting world title contender.
Boytsov, trained by legendary German trainer Fritz Sdunek since his professional debut at the age of 19 in 2004, methodically broke down the taller and quicker Bidenko from the get-go, hitting and hurting the more experienced fighter with fast combinations to the body and the head. Impressively, for a young, power punching, fighter, Boytsov never lost his cool after stunning Bidenko. While others might have gone after their opponents like a raging bull, the Russian continued to pick his shots and therefore avoided punching himself out. Like an experienced master of the sweet science, Boytsov knew his moment would come. And it came in round six, when he started to hurt Bidenko badly with strong combinations to the body and the head. The Ukrainian was in bad shape but held on and showed guts until a perfect left uppercut by Boytsov finally ended matters at the 2:00 minute mark.
Boytsov provided a career-best performance in his most difficult fight so far. Bidenko is a well rounded boxer, who gave a lot of established fighters trouble, including current WBA titlelist Nicolay Valuev (whom he faced in his fourth professional bout and went twelve rounds with him) or former European champion Michael Sprott. But although Boytsov did outclass a quality opponent, he is still in development. To this point, he still has to prove he deserves to get a fight against the Klitschko brothers, Ruslan Chagaev or Valuev, the current belt holders of the division.
The Russian has a lot of power and a lot of talent. Fritz Sdunek even compared the power of his fighters left hook to the one of legendary heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. And Boytsov already proved his talent in his amateur career, winning 115 of 130 bouts, including 70 by knock out, becoming a five-time Russian champion and a three-time junior world champion. He is always in shape for his outings, something that can not be taken for granted in today’s boxing world. If he is able to use all his physical gifts against stronger opponents in the ring, he could become a world champion, although there is a long list of talented fighters who failed miserably on their way to the top.
Already ranked #5 by the WBA and #7 by the WBO, Boystov has a perfect record of 25-0 with 20 KOs and currently holds the WBA intercontinental belt. At the age of 23, he brings youth, courage and power and with the help of boxing guru Fritz Sdunek he should be able to sharpen his skills and get even better.
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