By Alexey Sukachev
WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko (29-0, 20 KOs), who is sharing the throne with a fighting legend and WBA super champion ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley, will put his portion of the belt at stake for the first time on October 3rd versus WBA #15 ranked contender Motoki Sasaki (32-7-1, 20 KOs) of Tokyo, Japan. This clash will head a ten-fight boxing card, promoted by Donetsk-based Union Boxing Promotion and arranged at Druzhba Palace of Sports.
31-year old Senchenko made headlines on April 10 when he dethroned his bitter nemesis and then-WBA champion Yuri Nuzhnenko with a heated twelve-round unanimous decision. Senchenko, who was virtually unknown outside of his native Ukraine at the time, became the first ever champion of the world for the local promotional company.
Sasaki, two years his older, is enjoying a three-year and seven-fight winning streak since his last loss to Koji Iida in 2006. Since then the hard-charging Japanese, who was once trained by Alexander Zimin (current Nikolay Valuev head coach), upset Filipino contender Rev Santillan with a sixth-round TKO in February 2008, wrestled the OPBF title off his hands and defended it thrice since then. In his last outing this July Sasaki (also ranked #11 by the WBC) scored a technical decision over another Filipino Dexter Delada.
As for Senchenko, he is currently preparing for his upcoming challenger in Donetsk after returning from Crimea, where he trained under the guidance of Union Boxing head coach Igor Gapon. Surprisingly, Sasaki won’t become the first ever Japanese fighter to take part in world title fights in Ukraine. A year ago Andriy Kotelnik made a voluntary defense of his WBA light welterweight belt by a convenient lopsided points victory over record-breaking flamboyant challenger Norio Kimura, who made up to 12 defenses of his national regalia prior the challenge.
In co-feature bout of the evening, top European featherweight Oleg Yefimovich (16-1, 10 KOs), 27, who is ranked #5 by the WBO, #11 by both the WBA and the WBC and #13 by the IBF, takes on British challenger Paul Appleby (14-1, 9 KOs) in the third defense of the EBU belt. Yefimovich last fought on Senchenko-Nuzhnenko undercard shutting out French journeyman Osman Aktas over the full distance. Appleby, 22, lost both his British title and unblemished record this April, being stopped on his feet by compatriot Martin Lindsay.
Also, EBU-EE junior welterweight champion Vladimir Kravets (19-0, 12 KOs) will risk his title against ever dangerous TBA over twelve rounds, while young Georgian cruiserweight Yago Kiladze (10-0, 8 KOs) will contest the vacant WBC Youth intercontinental belt against Uzbek national champion Isroil Kurbonov (5-4-1, no KOs). Ten rounds scheduled.
Shaping up the card is a handful of local notables, including WBO #11 / WBC #12 super middleweight Stas Kashtanov (24-0, 14 KOs), lightweight Andrey Kudriavtsev (31-7, 13 KOs), featherweight Stanislav Merdov (27-7, 22 KOs) as well as rising prospects Server Yemurlayev (13-0, 5 KOs), Alexey Zakharov (5-0, 4 KOs) and Artem Karpets (5-0, 4 KOs). Their opponents will be announced later.