By Alexey Sukachev
Salle Pierre Scohy, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Seine-Saint-Denis, France - Still looking for some fresh names in the middleweight class? Here comes Maksym Bursak, a new player in the already talent-driven division. Bursak (26-1-1, 12 KOs) went into his opponent's backyard, confronted the hostile crowd, and stopped Julien Marie Sainte (34-3, 24 KOs) withing three rounds in very dominating fashion to add his name into a boiling cauldron of European middleweight prospects. Bursak also became the new European middleweight champion.
Bursak, 28, got very aggressive from the opening bell. Being shorter and presumably less powerful than the Frenchman, the Ukrainian fighter immediately went into close quarters with Marie Sainte, trying to bully his foe. He threw numerous left hooks, adding some right bombs in the mixture too. Marie Sainte just had no answer to this killer pressure from the fresher fighter. Moreover, Bursak also landed an effective long, lean left hand to open a cut over the Frenchman's right eye.
The one-sided beating continued in the second round. Bursak landed at will; even though his blows weren't very damaging they were still rather spectacular. Marie Sainte, 32, had some succes during the second minute of the round but it was very short-lived, and the third minute turned into a nightmare for the local hero, as the Ukranian connected with an assortment of heavy blows. Early into the third, Bursak, battling with unusual zeal and vengeance, unleashed his full arsenal on the Frenchman. He cornered Marie Sainte and landed a series of eight-to-ten punishing hooks to send his foe to a knee. Referee Massimo Barrovecchio of Italy waved the contest off immediately, without even starting a count.
The victory was a sweet revenge for the Ukrainian boxer. In May 2012 he travelled to France and suffered a hard-fought but clear loss on points to then WBO interim champion Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam. With this particular win, WBO #7 middleweight, who had scored a one-sided decision over red hot Brian Vera in 2010, is expected to reach higher ranks and to position himself as the man to beat in the Old World. On the other hand, Marie Sainte, who was rated #3 by the WBA coming in, suffered his first loss since March 2009, and needs some time to regroup. Time, which is ticking away very rapidly, as he is already 32 years of age and doesn't get any younger (and better) with every new challenge.