By Graham Houston
Showtime’s ShoBox series usually focuses on young, up-and-coming fighters, but this Friday’s main event features a seasoned champion in Sergiy Dzinziruk, a German-based Ukrainian who makes his U.S. debut. Dzinziruk, an unbeaten southpaw, will be defending his WBO junior middleweight belt against Daniel Dawson, an Australian fighter who has lost just once in 35 bouts. Essentially this is a showcase for Dzinziruk, who is jointly promoted by Gary Shaw and Art Pelullo. This is Dzinziruk’s first bout in 18 months after being in a contract wrangle with Germany’s powerful Universum outfit.
Dawson, 32, is a former world kickboxing champion whose impressive record has been built up against mostly undemanding opposition.
In Dawson’s only bout against a top-class boxer he was well beaten on points by fellow-Australian Daniel Geale in December 2007, although Dawson was moving up from 154 pounds to meet a middleweight. Two judges didn’t give Dawson a round.
There seems, then, to be a considerable gulf in class here.
Dzinziruk, 34, is not widely known although he won the WBO belt more than four years ago by outpointing Daniel Santos and has made five successful defences. In his last fight, Dzinziruk outpointed Joel Julio, and he will obviously be eager to get back into action and to show the U.S. boxing public what he can do.
While Dzinziruk isn’t exciting he is a solid technician, adept at making an opponent miss and countering crisply. His right jab from the southpaw posture is a stiff weapon — at times he was knocking back Julio’s head with the jab.
Dawson is known to be tough and game but he looks somewhat out of his depth. Dzinziruk was a topflight amateur and he has boxed at a much higher level than his opponent.
If this develops into a set-piece boxing match, Dawson will be outclassed. His best hope would be to try to crowd Dzinziruk and outwork him, and I expect him to try to do this. Dzinziruk had a difficult fight against Lukas Konecny, who attacked in busy-punching bursts. Still, on a night when he wasn’t at his best, Dzinziruk still found a way to win. He is a cool, steady, consistent type of boxer, but not what you would call a hard hitter — just one stoppage win in his last seven bouts.
Logically, this fight will go 12 rounds and Dzinziruk will win comfortably on points. I think there is a chance of a class-difference stoppage, however, with Dzinziruk peppering his man to such an extent that the referee might start to feel that enough is enough.
If there is a referee’s intervention, it most likely won’t come until late in the fight, as Dawson looks the sort who can soak up punishment. I’m leaning a little towards Dzinziruk stopping his man around the 11th round although on paper, of course, this has the look of a full-distance bout.