By Alexey Sukachev
After tedious January, Russian fight scene will definitely warm up the next month and Feb. 22 tournament in Izhevsk seems to be its apotheosis. Fresh news is coming from the undercard part of the event. Russian super middleweight champion Konstantin Piternov (8-0, 1 KOs) will most probably collide with Ghanaian veteran James Obede Toney (23-3-1, 19 KOs) in a ten-round fight that has all tools to become a thriller, while Azad Azizov (22-2-1, 13 KOs) clashes against Kenyan hard nut Geoffrey Gaya (4-2, 1 KOs) in a scheduled eight-rounder.
One of the soundest names to be featured is Ukrainian Yuri Barashian (25-5, 17 KOs). This light heavyweight is best known for his spirited efforts in world title fights against WBO champion Zsolt Erdei last January and versus Hugo Hernan Garay in a clash for a vacant WBA 175lb belt a year and a half before. Despite having five losses on his resume the 30-year old Ukrainian has never been stopped and now, after a year-long layoff, he is ready to make another run at title.
“I’ll be back on Feb. 22 either in Moscow or in Izhevsk in an eight-rounder and I still shall be competing as a light heavyweight”, said Barashyan to turnir.com.ua. “I have no promoter right now but I hope to sign with Vladimir Hryunov who agreed to take a look at my skills in February. If successful against ever dangerous unknown I will most probably be contracted by this Russian promoter”.
Two more Kazakh fighters were added to a show. Super featherweight Abzal Adambaev (2-0, 1 KO) is presented by Abylaihan Promotions. Once a prominent amateur and two-time national champion Adambaev now 27, entered professionals on Aug. 15 during the huge Shumenov-Campillo undercard. He is also known for helping Vitaly Tajbert to prepare for his championship bout against Humberto Mauro Gutierrez last November. Another gifted fighter who is penciled to take his part in the tournament will be 23-year old bantamweight Tursynbek Sydykov (3-0, 1 KOs). Sydykov is managed by ex-contender Marat Mazimbaev. Meanwhile the whole evening will be broadcasted live by one of Kazakh TV channels. Azerbaijani Ali Mammadov (1-0) and Russian Igor Ivanov (3-0) will also be presented.
As was previously announced by Fightnews, two world-class unbeatens will headline the show. Denis Lebedev (19-0, 14 KOs) takes on Ignacio Esparza (16-1, 12 KOs) from Mexico in the second defense of his WBO I/C cruiserweight title, and bantamweight Alexander Bakhtin (24-0, 11 KOs) faces Kenyan Nick Otieno (19-4, 8 KOs) in the WBC semi-eliminator. The whole tournament will be promoted by Vladimir Hryunov.