By Alexey Sukachev
Krasnodar, Russia - Former South African and IBO light welterweight champion Kaizer "The Animal" Mabuza suffered a unanimous decision loss to Russia-based Armenian David Avanesyan in a bid for David's WBC Baltic title. Though Mabuza had clearly lost a
close call, official scores were way off the mark: 117-110 (Yuri Koptsev), 118-110 (Rozalin Nasibulin), and criminal 120-108 (Alexander Sushkov). The latter score should be carefully investigated by the local commission and Russian Professional Boxing Board as well. BoxingScene had it 115-112 - for Avanesyan, and a good reason can be put forward to score the fight even closer.
While clearly past his best, Mabuza, 34, still proved to have plenty of fight in him. He began the bout stalking Avanesyan, nine years his younger, around the ring. He was awkward at times but his punches were well composed and landed to the body of David. Avanesyan answered with a crisp jab and landed fast one-two combos to make it an even fight. Avanesyan got bigger in the next couple of rounds, while the South African looked to hurt the Russian several times in the fourth. Yet, two judges had it 40-36 - for the champion at the start of the fifth. The midst of the bout was, however, in Mabuza's favour, whose body punches took a toll on a less experienced fighter. Yet, he was already deducted a point by referee Victor Panin for intentional headbutting, Avanesyan suffering cuts around his eyes.
David caught his second wind in the seventh, and the next two or three rounds were mostly in his favour. Nevertheless, Mabuza was game and tried to counter every David's success with some gifts of his own. Both combatants exchanged long offensive series, mixing them with defensive periods. Avanesyan, however, was more subtle and finer of
the two. Both Avanesyan and Mabuza gave their all in rounds eleven and twelve.
With this loss Mabuza goes down to 25-11-3, 15 KOs. He is just 2-4 over the last four years. Avanesyan is more luckier, moving to 17-1-1, 9 KOs, and a good chance to crack the top-15's of major ranks.
Aik "Humanoid" Shakhnazaryan (12-0, 4 KOs), a 20-year old rising star, trained by Victor Petrochenko, a coach of Dmitry Pirog, made a very solid step up in class by effectively dethroning WBO European light welterweight champion Felix Lora (18-11-5, 9 KOs) over twelve heated rounds. Scores were: 117-110 (Victor Panin), 118-108 (Pawel Kardyni) and 119-108 (Alexander Sushkov) - for the Humanoid. BoxingScene is in agreement with the last judge.
Shakhnazaryan was virtually unknown just several months ago but has impressively raised up the level of opposition since then. In his latest fight, Aik annihilated perennial multi-division contender Alisher Rakhimov in just two rounds. In this fight, the Russia-based Armenian was hardly stoppable as well.
Using more subtle and sophisticated footwork, Shakhnazaryan circled around the upset-minded Lora for the first two or three rounds. The WBO #11 Dominican tried to use some dirty tricks (including blows below the belt) and also to land some heavy shots but found little luck doing so. Shakhnazaryan, meanwhile, had a big round four, connecting with some clean shot to rock Lora several times. The Dominican experienced a tiny comeback in the midst of the fight. He was still punished heavily but also landed some meaningful punches of his own, specifically some left uppercuts. Shakhnazaryan came back to basics and took the seventh round. Lora faded after that, while Aik got bigger and stronger as the fight progressed. Shakhnazaryan punctuated his win with a powerful left counter, which sent Lora down in the eleventh and almost repeated this trick in the big twelfth round.
Lora has previously scored a major upset against former world title challenger Sergey Fedchenko. He also got wins over previously undefeated prospects Krzysztof Cieslak, Krzysztof Szot, Massimiliano Ballisai and Marlon Davis earlier in his career, the latter three victories being scored inside the distance.
Young cruiserweight Ruslan Faifer (3-0, 1 KO) got a workmanlike decision over comebacking Ibragim Khalilov (4-2-2, 2 KOs). Khalilov fought just for the second time in six years. However, Faifer experienced some mild problems in the second half of the fight but overcame them at the very end. Still scores (60-54 x3) were too wide, as the fight itself was closer than that. BoxingScene had it 59-56 - for Faifer.
Middleweight Felix Amoev (8-1, 4 KOs) got a lopsided win over hard-nosed Ukrainian journeyman Vladimir Borovskiy (21-57-2, 10 KOs). Amoev easily dominated the fight in every round, cruising to 79-71 score on all the judges' scorecards.
Talented Uzbek welterweight Uktamjon Rakhmonov (3-0, 1 KO) scored his first career stoppage win with the third-round retirement of his Armenian opponent Gegam Mktchyan (2-2), who now resides in Russia.
Mrtchyan retired in his corner after the third, citing an injury.
Rakhmonov is best known for getting into the quarterfinal of 2012 London Olympics, where he has narrowly (15-21) lost to occasional gold medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo.