By Alexey Sukachev and Diana Anisimova (ringside)
Tonight “Ural Boxing Promotions” in association with the “Ready for Labour and Defense of Russia” military-sportive foundation staged a tiny open-air tournament on Red Square (near the walls of the legendary Kremlin), which was a part of the fifth military-sportive forum and attracted a huge number of casual spectators thanks to its free admission and compact, yet exciting schedule.
Headlining the show, rising middleweight prospect Anton Novikov (13-0, 5 KOs) looked as promising as ever in a ten-round shutout of Tanzanian guest Mada Maugo (8-3, 6 KOs) for the WBC Youth title at 160lbs.
Maugo started the fight aggressively but soon found himself on the deck after a huge counter left by southpaw Novikov, 21. The Tanzanian showed a big heart by continuing to press the action but was definitely in the other league, compared to technically sound Russian counterpuncher. The 23-year old African tried to use foul tactics by hitting below the belt line and using his head and elbows, which resulted in several warnings issued by referee Daniel Van de Wiele. Finally, he was deducted a point for punching after the “break” command. Maugo marched forward anyway, eating jabs and left hooks to the body and missing in return. In round seven, he was down again after another counter body shot by Novikov and barely survived the rest of the stanza. Rounds eight and nine were all Novikov, who continuously rocked his crouching opponent with short lefts both to the head and to the liver. Sensing he had zero chances to earn a decision, the Tanzanian brawler went in for kill during the last stint and even had his moments but it was too little and too late to turn back the tide. At the end, all three judges saw it lopsidedly in favour of Novikov: 100-89, 100-88 (as did Fightnews) and 99-88, who retained his youth title for the first time. WBC Supervisor was Marina Milovanova.
In what seemed to be the best fight of the evening, Russian-based Uzbek Sherzod Husanov (13-0-1, 7 KOs) was held to a controversial twelve-round draw by fellow unbeaten Russian Timur Nergadze (12-0-1, 2 KOs). Both fighters gave it all in twelve see-saw rounds, not offering a single inch for each other and using a vast arsenal of various punches and tricks – the reserve, left since their successful amateur days. Husanov, 29, was the more active of two in opening rounds, being hidden well behind the solid block and using multi-punch combinations to hurt Nergadze, one year his senior, on several occasions. The Enem native, however, was never in danger of being floored, trying to counter each move of Husanov. He finally felt the pace in the second part of the battle, starting to put his light, but annoying punches together. WBO #10 Husanov, on the other hand, was fading fast at the end of the fight. Still, the consensus was that the Uzbek fighter was a little bit too much for his Russian rival (Fightnews scored it 116-112 for Husanov). After an unusually long summation of the scorecards the fight was declared a draw: Alexander Kalinkin saw it 115-113 for Nergadze, Victor Panin scored 119-109 for Husanov, while Montenegrin Predrag Aleksic summarized the result in a single score 114-114. Husanov retained his WBO Asia Pacific junior middleweight title in process. Husanov’s WBC ABCO and Nergadze’s WBC CISBB belts weren’t at stake and neither were the previously announced WBC EBC regalia. WBO supervisor was Igor Mazurov.
20-year old heavyweight Murad Khalidov (7-0, 3 KOs) scored a workmanlike sixth-round unanimous decision over defensive-minded Kazakh Kanat Altaev (3-2-2, 2 KOs). 18-year old super middleweight heavy hitter Hetag Kozaev (5-0, 5 KOs) is yet to see the second round in his career after a devastating one-minute destruction of Moldovan Nikolay Miron (1-4). Miron was down twice before the stoppage.
A number of familiar faces were in attendance, including the WBA heavyweight titleholder Nikolay Valuev with his wife Galina, former long-time WBA lightweight champion Orzubek Nazarov, amateur legend and PBFR president Victor Ageev and Olympic champion and former Russian amateur team head coach Alexander Lebzyak.