By Alexey Sukachev at ringside
Hard-punchung cruiserweight terror Denis Lebedev (20-0, 15 KOs) continued his string of scintillating kayos with the fourth round blowout of Mexican champion Ignacio Esparza (16-2, 12 KOs) on Monday night at the Udmurt Circus in Izhevsk, Russia. WBO #1 Lebedev, 2009 Russian fighter of the year, dropped Esparza with a wicked left to the head at the end of the first. The Mexican recovered well and gave Lebedev a tough battle till the end of the fourth. With ten seconds remaining in the round Lebedev charged forward with a monster-like left-right-left combination, which had Esparza down for the count. Lebedev retained his WBO I/C title in process. Time was 2:59 of the fourth.
In a WBC bantamweight semi-final eliminator, unbeaten WBC #2 Russian “Knight” Alexander Bakhtin (25-0, 11 KOs) earned a workmanlike twelve-round unanimous decision over hard-nosed Kenyan pressure battler Nick Otieno (20-5, 9 KOs) with the scores: 120-107 (twice – Gorstkov and Aleksic) and 120-108 (Puckov). Off-balance Otieno was down once at the end of the first after right hand of Bakhtin. Fightnews scored it 120-108 for the Russian.
In a major upset, multiple junior welterweight minor titlist Azad Azizov (22-3-1, 13 KOs) was defeated by underated Kenyan southpaw Geoffrey Gaya (5-2, 1 KOs) over eight rounds in a crowd-pleasing contest which had fans jumping all around Udmurt Circus. Gaya, fighting through nine pounds of weight difference lost the first couple of rounds before he adjusted his style to shorter Azerbaijani. The Kenyan used his skill set and elusiveness to frustrate aggressive Azizov. At the end of eight rounds, all three judges saw it in favour of Gaya – 78-75, 77-76 and 77-75 – to a big joy of local fans and a displeasure of a small group of Azerbaijani supporters. Fightnews saw it 77-75 – also for Gaya.
Volga cossack Konstantin Piternov (9-0, 2 KOs) scored a stoppage win over Kenyan journeyman Samson Onyango (19-6, 12 KOs) in the fifth round. Former amateur standout Piternov rocked African badly in the first and forced referee Evgueny Gorstkov to issue a standing eight in the second but failed to finish him off himself. The action was halted at 2:38 of the fifth due to Onyango’s right leg injury.
Former amateur star Igor Ivanov (4-0, 1 KO), who had over 300 victories in the unpaid ranks, scored a brutal first-round knockout of Uzbek lightweight Sharof Altbaev (1-1). The Uzbek went down after a huge left by Ivanov un the midst of the stanza and was impressively finished off with a chilling overhand right for the count at 2:55.
Azerbaijani light heavyweight Vusal Aliev (4-0, 1 KO) scored his first career kayo with the first-round stoppage of professional debutant Gerey Gamedov (0-1) of Moscow, Russia. The fight was stopped at 2:42, when Gamedov was being mercilessly pounded in the corner.
Tajik trialhorse Safo Boboradzhabov (2-11, 1 KO) scored an upset win over Azerbaijani junior middleweight Ali Mammadov (1-1). Scores were: 40-37, 39-37 and 38-38 – for Safo.