By Alexey Sukachev
The Professional Boxing Federation of Russia has officially announced the cream of the Russian pugilistics in 2009. Several winners in various nominations were defined and the biggest victor was undoubtedly cruiserweight Denis Lebedev (19-0, 14 KOs) who went right from obscurity to eye-popping results at the top of the 200 lb division.
As was previously announced by Fightnews, Lebedev has been awarded with the “fighter of the year” prize for his outstanding performance in 2009. Just half a year after the end of his four-year long hiatus Stary Oskol native, who is trained by famous Valery Ivanovich Belov, managed by Vladimir Hryunov and promoted by Frank Warren’s Sports Network, crushed tough Cuban Eliseo Castillo in March, followed it by a sensational three-round demolition of British star Enzo Maccarinelli in July and ended the year in style by taking out Ali Ismailov in December. WBO #1, IBF #7, WBC #13 and WBA #15 Lebedev will be back to the squared circle on Feb. 22 in Izhevsk against Mexican Ignacio Esparza (16-1, 12 KOs) in the next defense of his WBO I/C title during a major boxing show, promoted by Vladimir Hryunov.
Another nomination, which saw Lebedev’s name as its winner, was the “fight of the year” award. Denis Lebedev stopped former world title challenger Ali Ismailov in six rounds on Dec. 17 in Saint Petersburg during a heated give-and-take see-saw performance, which saw Denis stunned in the second and in the third rounds of the bout only to turn back the tide and force Ismailov into retirement after the sixth stanza. Lebedev – Castillo (TKO 5, March 22) and Konstantin Piternov vs. Rudolf Asaturyan (UD 10, June 4) have also been considered.
The promoter of the winner in previous nominations was Jab Promotions. This Saint Petersburg-based company was also presented with the “Promoter of the year” award. Led by former EBU champion Alexander Yagupov and businessman Vitaly Supichenko, Jab Promotions staged a number of nice-packed tournaments in the north-western region of Russia, including WBO I/C, WBO Europe and EBU-EE(U) title fights. Two fighters, promoted by Yagupov and Supichenko, took part in world title contests, losing narrow decisions in Argentina (Ali Ismailov) and in Germany (Dmitry Sukhotsky). Russian most active promoter German Titov and rapidly rising Ural Boxing Promotions have also been taken into consideration.
A specific prize was given to Kira Plotnikova, the widow of late promoter Alexey Plotnikov, who tragically died in auto accident back in 2007. Plotnikova is the only female promoter in Russian boxing. She staged four tournaments in 2009 and ended the year with the sound season finale, including Kazimov – Corley and Provodnikov – Castro fights.