By Alexey Sukachev and Dmitry Mikhachuk
WBO light middleweight champion Zaurbek Baysangurov (26-1, 20 KOs) will make the first defense of his title on May 12 at the Terminal in Brovary, Ukraine. No official opponent has been named so far but rumors are widespread that Spaniard Ruben Varon (38-6, 17 KOs), who is ranked #11 by the WBO, will step into the ring against the Chechen native.
Baysangurov, 27, is regarded by many as a paper champion, and he certainly has something to prove to the skeptics. He acquired the vacant WBO interim title by knocking out totally irrelevant Brazilian Mike Miranda with what seemed to be a light punch in the very first round. Zaurbek, a hard hitter with good boxing skills, who has wins over Richard Gutierrez and Marko Antonio Rubio on his resume, as well as an upset TKO loss to the reigning IBF champion Cornelius Bundrage, was elevated to a full champion status, after then-champion Sergey Dzinziruk was stripped of his regalia. Baysangurov was then thought to defend against possibly the toughest opponent in his career in Lukas Konecny in March but was forced to withdraw from the bout after a back injury during the training camp.
Meanwhile, Konecny put up a one-sided beating and then stopped Frenchman Salim Larbi the last week to acquire a vacant WBO Interim title in his turn. Now the winner of the WBO defense in Brovary will be forced to defend his title against the Czech in the shortest time possible.
Ruben Varon is 32. He is a well-known continental contender, who ironically dealt Konecny the first loss of his career in a questionable fashion in 2004. Varon challenged Felix Sturm for the WBO middleweight belt in 2003 and lost to the German via a lopsided unanimous decision. In his most recent big fight in 2010, Varon gave a stern test to then-EBU titleholder Matthew Macklin before losing a dubious decision.
The show is promoted by K2.