By Alexey Sukachev
Vladimir Hryunov, undisputedly the best Russian boxing manager/promoter of the modern era, has already developed a couple of world champions this year. In a three month span he guided heavyweight Alexander Povetkin and cruiserweight Denis Lebedev to WBA titles. However, there are more talented Russian fighters to look after, besides Povetkin and Lebedev, and now their future will also be taken care of by the leading Russian pugilistic personality. On December 25, Hryunov ends the year with another bang, making an international event of boxing for capital fans at CSKA universal arena near Khodynka Palace of Sports in Moscow.
The star of the night is undefeated perennial contender Alexander Bakhtin (28-0, 11 KOs). The 30-year old stylist made a name of himself in Japan, breaking that state’s national record for the most number of bantamweight title defenses between 2003 and 2006. However, due to some problems outside the ring Bakhtin wasn’t taken into world title consideration even despite being ranked in the top ten of every sanctioning body. In 2009, Bakhtin signed with Hryunov, and in 2011 he entered super bantamweight ranks, where he is rated #4 by the WBC and WBA, and #13 by the IBF.
Bakhtin’s next opponent is experienced Venezuelan master and former WBA interim bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (20-4-1, 12 KOs). 32-year old Cermeno enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2009, when he scored two back-to-back wins over Christian Mijares and then knocked out Alejandro Valdez. In 2010 he felt a victim of two close decisions in favor of Anselmo Moreno, and this year he was defeated twice more by Victor Terrazas and Fernando Montiel.
In a chief support bout of the night, well-known Russian cruiserweight Grigory Drozd (32-1, 23 KOs) will go on with his comeback against durable Ugandan Joey Vegas (12-6-1, 5 KOs), 29, in a tune-up fight. Drozd was on a hot run in mid-00’s before being stopped by Firat Arslan in a bid for the vacant WBA title. He later regrouped and came back but has fought just once after his good showing in the Darnell Wilson fight in 2009. Drozd is still young enough to make some impact in one of the sport’s hottest weight divisions.