By Alexey Sukachev
Up-and-coming Russian junior welterweight prospect Denis Shafikov (18-0, 10 KOs) showed his stellar potential one more time yesterday at Pyynikin Palloiluhalli in Tampere, Finland. Shafikov, 23, who has recently defeated former WBA lightweight champion Raul Horacio Balbi, was as quick as punishing in a brutal two-round annihilation of an overmatched Thai Decho Bankluaygym (30-12-2, 19 KOs). Miass, Russia, native was in total control from round one scoring with numerous combinations. In round two, his spirited assault resulted in two hard knockdowns of the Asian fighter. The bout was stopped on 1:00 of the second round after the latter flooring.
The Shafikov-Bankluaygym showdown headlined a local card, presented by the P3 Boxing promotional group. In two other notable super lightweight bouts, former two-time EBU title challenger Juho Tolppola (22-5-1, 9 KOs) outpointed Polish journeyman Maurycy Gojko (13-12-1, 5 KOs) over six with the scores 60-54 (twice) and 60-55, and Kosovo import Edis Tatli (7-0), now based in Finland, decisioned Spanish Cento Martinez (4-9-3, 3 KOs) with exactly the same scores.
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A day earlier, at Scandic Hotel Kajanus in Kajaani southpaw middleweight Mikhail Makarov (9-0, 4 KOs) easily destroyed overmatched Latvian Denis Alekseevs (6-26-1, 5 KOs) in the very first round after a huge left hook to the body.
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A small but well-packed local show was organized by Estonian promoter Alexander Karavayev yesterday at Energy Sport Hall, in Narva. BBU Prospect of the year Sergey Melis (12-0, 1 KO) outpointed fellow countryman Ilya Alexeev (8-4-1, 4 KOs) over ten rounds to capture the vacant WBC Baltic middleweight title. Also, Russian light welterweight Fariz Kasimov (8-1, 1 KO) scored a unanimous ten-round points victory over Uzbek native Johnny Ibramov (7-3).
Albert Starikov (13-10, 4 KOs) PTS 6 Semjons Moroseks (3-5-1, 1 KO)
Dmitry Protkunas (10-28-2) D 6 Pavel Semenov (0-0-1)
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An interesting match-up between two super middleweight contenders Dmitry Sukhotsky (12-0, 7 KOs) and Ghanaian James Obede Toney (23-3-1, 19 KOs), which was preplanned on Friday, Feb. 13, was cancelled due to undisclosed reasons several hours before its start. No explanation has been given; however, the show at Triumph Sports Palace, organized by Shkalikov promotions, went on with other bouts in the card. Guinea-Bissau native Medina da Silva Amilcar Aureliano de Jesus stepped in instead of Toney in his pro debut and was promptly stopped by Sukhotsky in the second round. Also, one of the most promising fighters of the evening and former amateur standout Ravshan Hudoynazarov (6-0, 4 KOs) of Uzbekistan extended his winning streak with a unanimous decision over professional loser Ilyas Guseynov (0-2) in a scheduled six-rounder.
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Rising Belarussian heavyweight prospect Alexander Ustinov (13-0, 11 KOs), promoted by K2 East Promotions, will conduct his next fight on Feb. 26th, at Kiev’s Sport Palace against one of the most dangerous opponents in his career. Ustinov, who is scheduled to enter world ranks soon, is taking on fellow undefeated knockout artist Maxim Pedyura (11-0, 10 KOs) in a twelve-rounder for a vacant EBA 200lb+ belt.
Presenting his boxer during the press-conference, held this Thursday, was the reigning WBC heavyweight champion Vitaly Klitschko, “I’m here to introduce our latest prospect Alexander Ustinov. However, I think those times will be over soon and he will need no formal introduction anymore. We have great expectations about Alexander. I’m sure he will challenge both European and world champions till the end of the year”. “The latter will be a hard thing to achieve though, because he is so uniquely strong that, to tell the truth, I’m not eager to meet him inside the ring”, added Klitschko with a smile on his face.
A number of K2 East prospects will fill in the undercard of the show. That includes middleweight talent Maxim Bursak (16-0-1, 6 KOs) and welterweight prospect Valery Brazhnik (20-0, 13 KOs).