By Alexey Sukachev
Professional Boxing Federation of Russia has finally summed up the results and announced the best of the best in Russian boxing over the last year. The “Fighter of the Year” trophy has been awarded to WBO #6 rated middleweight Dmitry Pirog (13-0, 11 KOs). During 2008, Pirog, who had previously been considered as one of this country’s best prospects, notched three sound victories and not surprisingly emerged as a bona-fide contender in the 160lb class.
In April, he scored several knockdowns and ultimately stopped tough countryman Aslanbek Kodzoev in four one-sided rounds. Three months later, Dmitry displayed his skills against rock-headed British-based Serbian Geard Ajetovic winning a wide unanimous decision over this durable foe. Temrjuk native Pirog came back to the ring in December to stop fringe Uzbek contender Kuvanych Toygonbayev in five and to retain his WBC Asian Boxing Council and WBO Asia Pacific belts. Dmitry Pirog overpowered several opponents en route to the trophy, including fellow middleweight Gennady Martirosyan and WBA regular heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev.
Ekaterinburg boxing tsar German Titov once again took home the “Promoter of the Year” award. Titov was by far the most active Russian promoter in 2008, staging 79 bouts in several big cities across Russia, including the hometown Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan. Most of his shows were incrusted with various minor belts. Titov has also arranged a tournament in cooperation with the Russian second most active promoter Alexander Yagupov and was the only boxing promoter in Russia to gain regular TV exposure for his boxers with a help of REN-TV channel.
Meanwhile, Petersburg-based Yagupov staged 41 fights, mostly in the Northern Palmira. 2008 was a breakthrough year for the former Russian and European bantamweight champion turned promoter. Also, one of Yagupov’s best hopes middleweight Gennady Martirosyan (now WBO #15) took part in 2008 “Best fight of the Year” in Russia, when he overcame hard-nosed veteran Alexey Chirkov in a short but all-action slugfest for a vacant national title in 160lbs. Chirkov was forced to stay on his stool after a brutal and desperate comeback assault of Martirosyan in the third round. He also defeated capable Europeans Attila Kovacs and Steve Conway during the last year.