By Ron Jackson
IBO/WBA regular super lightweight champion Khabib Allakhverdiev from Russia makes the first defence of his belt against number two contender Souleyman M’baye of France at the Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco on Saturday night. The bout is the co-feature to the “Super 4” Finale between Edwin Rodriguez 23-0; 15 and Denis Grachev 13-1-1; 8 will also be featured on the same card. The Rodriguez-Grachev fight is scheduled for 10 rounds at a catch-weight of 171.5 lbs (77.78kg).
The 30-year-old Allakhverdiev won the IBO light welterweight belt in June last year when he knocked out defending champion Kaizer Mabuza from South Africa in the fourth round. On November 30, 2012 he won the vacant WBA “regular” super lightweight belt on an eight round technical decision against Joan Guzman who was 33-0-1 at the time. Guzman injured his knee in the eighth round after an accidental foul and the decision went to the cards. Danny Garcia is the WBA super champion.
Allakhverdiev who fights from the southpaw stance and has a record of 18 wins and no defeats with 8 wins inside the distance won with scores of 76-75 twice in his favour and 76-75 in favour of Guzman. The IBO belt was also at stake.
The veteran 38 year-old Mbaye 40-4-1; 22 is a 15 year pro and won the vacant WBA super lightweight belt in September 2006 when he stopped Raul Horacio Balbi in the fourth round.
After retaining the belt with a draw against Andriy Kotelnik he lost it to Welshman Gavin Rees in July 2007.
On July 14, 2011 he was stopped in the 12th round by Ismael El Massoudi in a bout for the interim WBA super lightweight belt and in his only fight since then he won on a second round technical knockout over Lazlo Haas (7-11).
Allakhverdiev who is trained by John David Jackson is a skilful fighter with good movement and defence.
Mbaye who will have height and reach advantages is also a skilful fighter and always in top condition.
However, the younger Allakhverdiev should have the edge over 12 rounds to take the decision.
In the “Super 4” series which began on March 30 the 28-year-old Rodriguez from the Dominican Republic who fights out of Worcester, Massachusetts in the USA advanced to the final after beating previously undefeated Ezequiel Maderna from Argentina on a unanimous ten rounds points decision and Grachev, 30, of Russia beat former world champion Zsolt Erdei on a split decision.
On the same card in a middleweight fight Max Bursak of Kiev, Ukraine meets Prince Arron from England for the European Boxing Union title over 12 rounds and in cruiserweight clash Dmytro Kuchar from the Ukraine faces South African based Ilunga Makabu from the DRC also over 12 rounds.