By Alexey Sukachev
It looks like Russia can soon have its second IBO titleholder, and once again he is going to represent Team Hryunov, a powerful gathering of local contenders ruled by the leading Russian boxing businessman in the sport today, Vladimir Hryunov.
On September 7, highly rated super bantamweight Alexander Bakhtin (29-0, 11 KOs) will make his homecoming in the old Buryat city of Ulan-Ude in Southern Siberia to contest for the vacant IBO 122lb title against Pinoy import Roli Gasca (19-2, 5 KOs), a relatively dangerous 23-year old upset artist. Uland-Ude is located just about 450 kilometers to the west of Bakhtin’s birthplace of Chita, a small distance for continental Russia.
Gasca is a former PABA bantamweight and OPBF super bantamweight titleholder. His best wins came against 34-1 Thai Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat on the home turf of the latter (via TKO 6) and against 24-9-1 Japanese Hiromasa Ohashi, also abroad. In his last meaningful fight Gasca was taken to school by young and talented Yukinori Oguni.
Bakhtin, 30, is rated #3 by the WBC and #6 by both WBA and IBF. He is an all-Japanese record holder for the most defenses of the national bantamweight belt. In his ultimate fight he confidently outpointed former interim-world champion Nehomar Cermeno over twelve rounds.
Bakhtin was earlier scheduled to take on Mexican Mario Briones.
“He violated the regulations of our agreement”, was quoted Vladimir Hryunov. “He chose to fight in a non-title bout and he lost it. We were forced to look for a sub and, fortunately, not only were we able to find one in a very competent fighter like Gasca but we were able to make it for the IBO title, which is a big success for us”.
Three weeks ago, another of Hryunov’s pupils, rapidly rising light welterweight Khabib Allakhverdiev, also acquired the dark green belt by crushing its former owner Kaizer Mabuza in spectacular fashion.