By Alexey Sukachev
In a huge upset, previously unbeaten German heavyweight Steffen Kretschmann (13-1, 12 KOs) was unexpectedly knocked out in the opening round on Friday night at the Hermann-Neuberger-Halle in Voelklingen, Germany, by seemingly shop-worn Russian veteran Denis Bakhtov (30-5, 19 KOs), who was however ranked #14 by the WBA. Kretschmann started the fight aggressively, rocking Bakhtov in the corner and putting him in danger. Suddenly Bakrov connected with a huge right, badly wobbling the German fighter. Surprisingly, referee stopped the time without any reason, saving Kretschmann occassionaly. Not for long though, as Bakhtov connected with a thunderous right hook at the end of the round, dropping the German on canvas. Kretschmann barely stood up but showed no desire to continue thus forcing the referee to stop the fight declaring a TKO 1 win for Bakhtov, who retained his PABA title in process.
Middleweight Dmitry Pirog (14-0, 11 KOs), who was previously ranked #3 by the WBO and #14 by the WBC, presented a world-class masterpiece in dismantling former two-time world title challenger Kofi Jantuah (32-4-1, 21 KOs) over twelve one-sided rounds. Pirog showed both tremendous technique and good stamina to continue his powerful assaults throughout the whole card. Dmitry connected numerously with his uppercuts, adding huge left and overhand right hooks on several occasions. He was almost flawless in his defence, neglecting rare Ghanaian left hooks and using body movement to avoid Jantuah’s right hands. Pirog got tired a bit in the mid rounds but he just couldn’t stop delivering bombs. The Ghanaian fighter, however, showed an enormously armed chin to take so many Pirog’s punches. The only moment he got was at the very end of the twelfth round but it was only enough to wobble Pirog slightly and the Russian fighter, delivering the best performance of his pro career, easily survived till the end. At the end, all three judges had it loopsidedly for Pirog, 120-108 (twice) and 119-109. Fightnews scored it 119-110 for the Russian, who is expected to rise high in the rankings. Pirog is the new WBC international middleweight titlist as well.
WBC/WBO #2 British/Nigerian cruiserweight Herbie Hide (48-4, 43 KOs) barely used several percent of his full potential in destroying hugely overmatched Hungarian club fighter Gabor Halasz (26-13, 10 KOs) in three horribly one-sided rounds. Despite being by far stronger and better fighter, Hide didn’t hesitate to use excessive fouling, including punching at the back of the head, much of it being induced by Halasz’s spins around. The Hungarian was down in round one and badly cut in round two. The end came at 2:20 of the third round after a devastating left half-a-hook-half-an-uppercut and right hook combination.