By Alexey Sukachev
Rising junior welterweight prospect Denis Shafikov (19-0, 10 KOs) was at his brilliant best today against durable Mexican national champion Juan Carlos Rodriguez (57-23-2, 41 KOs) outpointing him over eight fast-paced rounds with the scores 78-75, 79-73 and 80-73. This bout headlined a well-packed local show, promoted by the Finnish leading company P3 Boxing and held at Kisahalli in Helsinki, Finland.
Both fighters were testing each other’s defense in the tedious first round. Shafikov connected with a huge left to the body to take the second stanza. In round three, Denis increased the tempo and put considerably more power into his punches. He scored with numerous fast combos and avoided any punishment from slow Rodriguez with his nice footwork. The fight followed the same pattern for the next three heats and the Mexican import had his moments in round five. In the seventh stanza, Shafikov used left backhands on occasion to deal rock-headed Rodriguez more punishment. The last round was the whole bout in miniature: fluid Shafikov used his superior speed and blistering technique to punish slowly moving Rodriguez with nice combinations while taking little in return. However, not aiming to a knockout Shafikov never had his opponent in a danger of the stoppage. All in all, another good win for Shafikov, who is expected to enter world ranks after the victory.
IBF #4 middleweight ‘Idi’ Amin Asikainen (26-2, 17 KOs) came back into the winning column after the disastrous TKO loss to Khoren Gevor last November with a solid win over Argentinean journeyman Valentin Antonio Ochoa (20-13-1, 8 KOs). Asikainen took the first round by being a bit active. In round two, Asikainen got the spot for his left hooks and Ochoa went down citing an elbow injury. For the next two heats the Argentinean fighter was clearly in the world of pain with his injured hand and took serious punishment from onrushing Asikainen. He, however, showed his heart by being able to sustain the storm. In the fifth round, Ochoa suddenly started to fight back and gave Asikainen a bit work to be done to overcome his resistance. The Finnish hero continued to dominate in rounds six and seven and he finally forced Ochoa to take a knee in the last round. Showing a great asset of survivor skills, the Argentinean fighter was able to hear the final bell only to be shot out on the scorecards: 80-70, 80-70 and 80-72.
Norse featherweight Andreas Evensen (9-1, 1 KOs) dominated tough Russian veteran Andrey Kostin (20-12, 6 KOs) with the identical 60-54 scores on all judges’ scorecards. Finland-based Kosovo native Edis Tatli (8-0, 1 KO) scored his first ever knockout win in the first round over Walberto Gaxiola (7-7, 6 KOs). Rising heavyweight Jarno Rosberg (6-0, 3 KOs) looked fresh against Jorge Valenzuela (8-14, 7 KOs) scoring a unanimous decision over six rounds: 60-52 and 60-52 (twice). Also, super middleweight Niko Jokinen is now 4-0 with 4 KOs after the first round knockout victory over journeyman Dmitry Protkunas (10-30-1, 1 KO) and Norse cruiserweight Ronni Tiller (2-0, 2 KOs) outpointed Dariusz Balla (1-6) over four with a split decision: 40-36, 39-37 for Tiller and 38-39 for Balla.