By Alexey Sukachev
Denis Lebedev (19-0, 14 KOs) scored yet another poster stoppage moments ago at Gladiator fight club in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The highly ranked (WBO #3, IBF #8, WBC #14 and WBA #15) cruiserweight banger overcame a savage resistance of recent world title challenger Ali Ismailov (16-3-1, 12 KOs) from St. Petersburg by way of Azerbaijan and forced him to retire after the sixth round.
Lebedev, who has crushed Eliseo Castillo and Enzo Maccarinelli in his last two fights, took the first round with his heavier artillery and higher activity. Ismailov was able to regroup and started to execute his game plan by pinning Lebedev around with his jab and going toe-to-toe in close quarters. In round three, Ismailov rocked Lebedev with his counterpunch during a heated brawl but was unable to finish him despite a nasty cut over Denis’ forehead to support his intentions. Sensing the fight makes an unwilling move to his opponent, Lebedev dug deep and found some inner resources to turn back the tide in the fourth stanza, also cutting Ismailov badly. Rounds five and six were all in Lebedev’s favour. The stocky bomber pushed Ismailov from pillar to post with his heavy blows, while Ali was in defensive mode, visibly suffering from the cuts. After the sixth round Ismailov’s corner signalized their protege is unable to continue. Lebedev retains his WBO I/C title and proves that he is a force to be reckon with at 200lb.
Maxim Maslov (10-0-1, 7 KOs) scored a hard-fought unanimous decision over Artur Marabyan (12-2, 4 KOs) to capture a vacant EBU-EE heavyweight title. Maslov delivered rather lackluster performance despite a good start in round one, when he almost had Marabyan down and out but failed to get the job done. Marabyan, seemingly a plodder himself, was surprisingly active and gave Maslov fits throughout the whole fight. The local fighter took the control of the bout and did enough to get the nod on all three official scorecards: 117-111, 117-112 and 118-110. However, the fight seemed to be closer than that.
Rising cruiserweight Alexander Kotlobay (17-1-1, 11 KOs) added another sound name to his resume. It took Kotlobay, who is expected to enter world ranks soon, just 151 seconds to completely depower previously unbeaten compatriot Valery Volozhenin (12-1-1, 6 KOs). The latter just wasn’t there as he went down after the first prepared assault of his opponent. He rose on shaky legs but was immediately put down once more, and the referee said enough was enough. Volozhenin will now find his name in the same crop with Mikhail Nasyrov, Lubos Suda and Jozsef Nagy – all of them were defeated by Kotlobay in just a year.