By Alexey Sukachev
WBA #4 middleweight Avtandil Khurtsidze (19-1-2, 12 KOs) retained his WBA Intercontinental title for the third time with a convenient win over Belgian Jamel Bahki (19-3, 5 KOs), who lost inside the distance for the first time in the career. The fight was a headliner of the K2 East-promoted show in Odessa, Ukraine. The short and stocky Kiev-based Georgian (5’4”) started to press his opponent from the starting bell, going right to him, using a peek-a-boo style of defense. Longer but weaker Bahki was unable to stop him in his shoes and was often punished in the ropes. In round three, Khurtsidze increased his tempo and put his Belgian foe down with ten seconds remaining in the stanza. Bahki continued to fight back in rounds four and five but was on receiving end of the punches and got beat badly. The Belgian’s corner waved the fight off immediately after the fifth stanza.
Also, world rated Ukrainian light heavyweight stalwart Vyacheskav Uzelkov moved to 21-0, with 13 KOs, after an easy annihilation of hugely overmatched Romanian Istvan Varga (14-8, 5 KOs).
Varga was down ten seconds into the first round after the devastating left hook by WBA #2 ranked contender, which hadn’t even fully penetrate Istvan’s block. The Romanian fighter barely stood up but was floored immediately after that after a powerful combo by Uzlekov with a lead right at the end. Varga beat the count for the second time but was too shocked to be allowed to continue. Spectacular win for Uzelkov, who is also ranked #5 by the WBO, #12 by the IBF and #14 by the WBC. Next for Vyacheslav can be a title fight later this year.
Belarus light middleweight Sergey Riabchenko is now 9-0, with 5 KOs, after a third-round TKO over clowning journeyman Boris Akopov (4-10-1, 3 KOs). Akopov was dropped down with the huge left hook to the liver in the third stanza and was thrown through the ropes moments later with the same punch after the first knock-down. This time it was for the count.
Valery Brazhnik (22-0-1, 15 KOs) TKO 7 Denis Tupilenko (2-8)
Nikolay Israelian (3-0, 2 KOs) KO 1 Vasily Chernikh (0-1)
Ali Adams (7-2, 2 KOs) UD 4 Vyacheslav Sherbakov (5-13-1, 3 KOs)
Nikita Lukin (10-17-1, 2 KOs) TKO 2 Alexey Pinchuk (0-1)
Alexander Benidze (11-10-2, 5 KOs) UD 6 Mikhail Vinnichenko (4-13, 2 KOs)