By Alexey Sukachev at ringside
Sherzod Husanov (14-0-1, 7 KOs) is a new WBC International light middleweight champion, following a one-sided twelve-round unanimous decision over bitter rival and previously unbeaten Timur Nergadze (12-1-1, 2 KOs) in the final fight of Edmund Lipinski grand memorial, which ended four hours ago at RSUPC sports arena in Moscow, Russia.
Photos: Evgueny Solodov
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Krasnodar-based ethnic Georgian Nergadze, who was ranked #25 by the WBC before this fight, held former Uzbek Olympian and WBC #26 154lber to a controversial draw in June. This time Husanov, who was also ranked #11 by the WBO, left his counterpart no chance at all, dominating the fight from the outset. Sherzod, 29, supported by the Uzbek Diaspora in attendance, delivered cleaner and more effective blows throughout the whole contest with the special accent on multi-punch combinations both to the head and body. Nergadze, 31, did his best to retaliate but looked too old and rusty and never got into the fight. At the end, all three judges had it in the Uzbek’s favor – 116-112, 119-111 and 119-109. Fightnews scored the fight lopsidedly 119-109 – for Husanov.
The Uzbek dominance was punctuated in the first bid for a vacant WBC International title, when WBO #14 super featherweight Alisher Rakhimov (19-0, 11 KOs) moved one division up in weight to stop Kyrgyz Jahongir Abdullaev (18-4, 6 KOs) in five one-sided rounds. Rakhimov, 32, though a smaller fighter, also proved to be sharper and more aggressive. He just didn’t feel Abdullaev’s blows and kept stalking his foe with the busy punching and smart aggression. In round five, he has finally got the Kyrgyz with the wicked left to the body, which forced Abdullaev, 27, to take a knee. Rakhimov immediately increased the tempo, and after a few exchanges Abdullaev turned his back and huddled himself up with the mask of pain on the face, signalizing he was in no condition to continue the contest. An official time of stoppage was 1:03 of the fifth round. Rakhimov is now the WBC International lightweight champion.
In clearly the most anticipated bout of the fight night, Fedor Yemelyanenko’s younger brother Alexander (0-0-1) was awarded with a dubious four-round majority draw in his pro debut against former amateur standout and fellow rookie Khizir Pliev (0-0-1). Both fighters wasted no time for a reconnaissance, going toe-to-toe since the opening bell. The heavily tattooed Russian heavyweight displayed a powerful punching and blow resistance, while his lesser-known opponent showed some remarkable skills and prevailed in ring generalship. Pliev also found an opportunity to smash Alexander’s nose, which bleed profusely since the third stanza, initiating a blood bath inside the ring.
After four crowd-pleasing rounds, one judge awarded the decision to Pliev with the score 40-37, while the other two judges saw it a draw 38-38. Fightnews scored the contest 39-37 – for Pliev, who was thunderously supported by the local Ingush Diaspora. Yemelyanenko was very rugged but too raw to support his physical stature with wise boxing.
Seifudin Barakhoev (now 9-2, 5 KOs) earned a hard-fought ten-round unanimous decision in the most intense clash of the evening against Rudolf Asaturyan (8-3, 4 KOs). Both light heavyweights delivered their best, but Barakhoev was just much stronger and much bigger than his opponent. Asaturyan, on the other hand, tried desperately to turn around his weaknesses into his advantages by staying low in crouching stance and making Barakhoev miss a lot. However, the latter found a necessary rhythm and started delivering his punches at will. In round five, Asaturyan was down after a short right hook by Barakhoev. He was also outboxed in the middle rounds but dug deep and delivered the rest of his energy and potential in the last round, breaking Barakhoev’s nose and landing some heavy bombs on the inside. That, however, didn’t help him much as he was outscored unanimously by all three judges: 99-92, 97-93 and astonishing 95-89 – for Seifudin Barakhoev.
It’s worth noting that the last score indeed took place, though it seems to be clearly out of touch with any reality. This reporter asked judge Yuri Tamm about his scoring standards and he replied by saying that “I awarded 10 points to the winner of the round and 8 points to the losing fighter even if there are no knockdowns in the session.” The aforementioned statement forced this reporter to scratch his head in disbelief. Fightnews had it 97-92 for the declared winner.
18-year old super middleweight Khetag Kozaev (6-0, 6 KOs) was forced to spend more than 3 minutes in the ring for the first time in his yet short pro career. Kozaev put Latvian journeyman Jurijs Boreiko (14-19-1, 10 KOs) down with the short right hand at the end of the first stanza. The Latvian guest was able to survive till the third despite taking a heavy punishment. The action was stopped at 1:42 of the third stanza with Boreiko lying helplessly on the ropes and eating punches without any retaliation.
Reigning Russian featherweight champion Ayup Arsaev (9-0, 5 KOs) went right after Moscow-based Georgian Georgi Kevlishvili (11-1, 3 KOs) and put a short and brutal end to his assault with the monstrous left hook, which had Kevlishvili down at 1:50 of the opening stanza. The Georgian fighter beat the count but was too shaky to continue the fight.