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Denis Lebedev, Santander Silgado are Ready For War

By Alexey Sukachev

Weights have been set tonight for tomorrow’s big show at Crocus City Hall in Myakinino, Moscow, Russia. The event will be crowned by the WBA cruiserweight championship between a newly crowned champion Denis Lebedev and his voluntary challenger Santander Silgado. Two more WBA minor belts will be at stake in two title fights of the undercard, while three more bouts will constitute the show.

Lebedev’s opponent will be undefeated but mostly untested Columbian Santander "Cha Cha" Silgado (23-0, 18 KOs), who is ranked #8 by the WBA and #6 by the WBC. Silgado, 27, once a promising prospect, was forced to miss almost three years off the ring between January 2009 and December 2011. He is 5-0, 2 KOs, since then with two back-to-back unanimous decisions over Joell Godfrey (in August and in October) being in his most recent past. Silgado has weighed-in at 193.75 tonight.

Lebedev’s status was elevated by the World Boxing Association two months ago during their annual convention, when then-reigning (but ultimately inactive) Panamanian champion Guillermo Jones was deemed to be in no position to fight his mandatory challenger (and the WBA interim titleholder) Lebedev in a partial unification of the certain world title. Thus Jones was declared a champion in recess, while Lebedev was name a full-scaled WBA cruiserweight champion. Denis, 33, has fought once this year, knocking out Barbadian Shawn Cox in two at the very same arena. Lebedev was found to be at 197.5 tonight.

Lebedev has trained for the fight with former world title challenger Monte Barrett. "We’ve chosen him for our training camp as he was also a sparring partner for Santander Silgado in Silgado’s past. He can also copy the style of his previous opponents, which makes him very valuable for the future study of your next opponent", revealed Lebedev in a video quickie with Alexander Pavlov of Sportbox.ru.

"Silgado is coming here to win. I’ve seen one member of his team in Roy Jones’ corner a year and a half ago, when Roy was fighting me in Moscow. That means Team Silgado has carefully studied all the tapes, all the documents, and they know everything about me. I shall not underestimate the Columbian", added Lebedev.

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In another important cruiserweight match-up, long-time contender Grigoriy Drozd (35-1, 25 KOs) will test his skills against former European champion Jean Marc Monrose (25-5, 15 KOs). This bout is billed for a vacant WBA international title.

WBC #5, WBA #9 and IBF #14 Drozd, 33, has good overall boxing skills and considerable punching power but his stamina is under questions, as it was an issue in his lone stoppage loss to Firat Arslan six years ago in the WBA eliminator. Drozd also missed much, fighting just once between July 2009 and February 2012. He is 2-0, with 2 KOs, this year and aims at a world title shot in his recent future. Drozd has tipped the scales at a division limit of 200 lbs.

Jean Marc Monrose, 31, achieved his greatest success in May 2008, when he knocked out then-champion Johnny Jensen in one to capture the EBU title. He lost it in the very first defense, being knocked out by Marko Huck. Monrose fell apart and lost three straight (including back-to-back defeats from the hands of Steve Herelius) before taking two years off the ring. He came back in June 2012 to outpoint little-known Adel Belhachemi over six. Drozd will be a much tougher assignment for him. Monrose was 198.2 tonight.

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In the third title attraction, undefeated Russian lightweight Eduard Troyanovskiy (12-0, 9 KOs), who is ranked #7 by the WBA, will collide with experienced Columbian upset artist Walter Estrada (42-15-1, 27 KOs). Eduard’s PABA title will be at risk in what is also billed as a partial WBA unification.

Troyanovskiy, 32, is coming off a hard win over Joseph Von Minoza in September and a crowd-pleasing thriller versus Claudiney Lacierda in June. His biggest win is the third-round stoppage of 42-5-2 Matt Zegan in 2010. Estrada, 36, came back from his stoppage loss to Jesse Vargas a year ago with three straight victories at home. His best streak was in the second half of 2010, however, when he knocked out 21-3-3 Verquan Kimbrogh and decisioned 23-7 Jose Reyes and even 33-6-1 Nate Campbell in a span of four months.

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Other fights:

Dmitry Chudinov (6-0-1, 3 KOs) vs Jhonathan Ricar (9-4, 7 KOs) – 8 rounds, middleweights;

Oleg Liseev (5-1, 3 KOs) vs Carlos Galvan (6-0-1, 5 KOs) – 8 rounds, middleweights;

Vladimir Goncharov (1-0) vs Bedarin Toma (6-1, 3 KOs) – 6 rounds, heavyweights.

The show is promoted by Vladimir Hryunov. Doors are opening at 7 PM LT. The TV broadcast by Russia 2 TV channel starts at 8 PM LT.

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