By Alexey Sukachev
WBA #4 middleweight Avtandil Khurtsidze (20-1-2, 13 KOs) was lucky to be awarded with a dubious eight-round TKO over Uzbek veteran Kuvanych Toygonbayev (30-6, 19 KOs) moments ago at Budivelnik sports arena in Cherkasy, Ukraine. Headlining a nice-packed little tournament, arranged there by K2 East Promotions, Kiev-based Georgian Khurtsidze, who spent the first part of his pro career overseas before being stopped by Tony Marshall in May 2005, retained both his WBA I/C (for the fourth time) and EBA (for the first time) titles simultaneously.
Short (5’4”) but powerful Tysonesque banger Khurtsidze applied his trademark pressure since the outset. He did enough damage to a bit rusty Uzbek fighter to take the first round. The second stanza, however, saw much more experienced Toygonbayev, who is best known for a series of victories over such notables as Oba Carr, Alfonso Mosquera, Andrey Tsurkan and Andrey Pestriaev several years ago, taking the control of the bout. Working from the outside, the guest stylist forced the local hero to miss much with his pretty ineffective aggression, while taking the remainder of his shots with his tight block. Round three was also in Kuvanych’s favour, who found a room for a devastating uppercut at the end of the three-minute period. Sensing the fight is turning in a wrong direction, Khurtsidze increased the tempo and delivered more heat to the challenger to take the next couple of rounds. The sixth and the seventh rounds were fought on even terms with Toygonbayev growing more and more fatigued but being a more precise fighter of two nevertheless.
In the grueling eighth round, both fighters went toe-to-toe and collided with their heads, which forced a horrible cut over Kuvanych’s left eyebrow. Referee Guiseppe Quartarone of Italy explicitly stated that the cut had been forced by an accidental headbutt. In a several moments, the fight was stopped by the doctor to a much displeasure and disappointment of still retaliating Uzbek boxer. Somewhat surprisingly, despite “an accidental headbutt” the final decision was the technical knockout in favour of Avtandil Khurtsidze, which clearly was a strange result. Fightnews had it 76-76 at the time of stoppage.
In the co-feature, ex-WBA welterweight titlist Yuri Nuzhnenko (30-1-1, 14 KOs), now ranked #7 by the WBA, continued his comeback with a ten-round workmanlike decision over Russian clowning journeyman Vyacheslav Yakovenko (7-8-1, 3 KOs) of Barnaul. Despite a lopsided scoresheet (100-90 – twice, and 99-91) in his favour, Nuzhnenko was forced to work very hard to overcome the resistance of tough and never-been-stopped Russian fighter. T
The former champ fought almost the whole fight through a bad cut over his forehead, which had never stopped bleeding profisely. Nuzhnenko was also expierincing some stamina problems but at the end of the day he just proved that his mastership is much better than Yakovenko’s. Fightnews saw it 98-92 for Yuri Nuzhnenko, who is scheduled to fight Italian veteran Gianluca Branco for a vacant EBU welterweight title in his next outing.