By Alexey Sukachev
With his former teammate Oleksander Usyk, the reigning WBO cruiserweight champion and arguably the best 200lber in the world watching closely from ringside, lightweight Denys Berinchyk (8-0, 5 KOs) acquired a vacant WBO Oriental 135lb belt with a dominant sixth-round stoppage of hard-nosed Filipino Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8 KOs). Time was 1:53 of the sixth.
It's not that this fight was all that one-sided on paper... Yet it was in the ring. Berinchyk controlled it from the outset but retained his trademak aggression, engaging in thrilling exchanges with his opponent. Vallespin was taking it to the core and retaliating but his energy source was limited. As rounds kept going by, Berinchyk began to dominate his opponent. Vallespin, 23, was dropped briefly in round five but fought on. In round six, he landed a right hand that shifted the Filipino's back to land an overhand left. Vallespin went down and was unable to get up in time.
Berinchyk, 29, was a vital part of the famous Ukrainian Golden Squad, led by P4P stalwart Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksander Usyk, which dominated 2011 World Championship in Baku and 2012 Olympic Games in London. It also included such fighters as Oleksander Gvozdyk, Ievghen Khytrov and Taras Shelestyuk and (as an alternate) Sergey Derevyanchenko. Berinchyk himself is 2011 and 2012 silver medalist.
WBO #5 rated featherweight Oleg Malinovskiy (22-0, 6 KOs) is clearly not a puncher by any means. His last six fights ended in decisions, including one majority and one split. Yet tonight, Malinovskiy, 29, scored his second fastest career win (he has found ending matter faster only in his debut fight), knocking out Hungarian David Berna (13-2, 12 KOs) in 145 seconds.
The end was, however, quite strange. Malinovskiy threw a major left hook, which missed narrowly without landing - as it seemed - even partially onto Berna's head. Yet, when the following right hand snapped the Hungarian's skull (also - not cleanly) he had on his way down already. Berna fell and failed to beat the count of ten thus justifying what can only be named a reminiscent of infamous Mukhammad's Ali Phantom Punch in his second fight with Sonny Liston.
"I need to keep winning this way in order to get Oscar Valdez's fight. I plan to become his mandatory so he will have no chance to legitimately avoid fighting me", summarized Malinovskiy in his post-fight in-ring speech.
21-year old Ukrainian Karem Chukhadzhyan (11-1, 5 KOs) got the biggest win of his career so far, when he decisioned former multi-time lightweight world title challenger Ali Funeka (39-8-3, 31 KOs) over eight rounds with a one-sided unanimous decision.
Chukhadzyan kicked off to a great start in the opening rounds, controlling the distance and tempo of the fight and working off Funeka's body. The South African, fighting at a critical age of 39, was rocked in the third round. Funeka turned more aggressive in the fourth round but Chukhadzhyan was effective in close quarters as he was at range. While Funeka concentrated solely on body shots, the Kiev-based fighter of Armenian origin, switched his heat output between the stages.
The ending rounds of the bout were also in favour of the Ukrainian, who showed better footwork and resilience. Both fighters gave their all in the eighth round, which turned to be the most entertaining. Funeka landed a couple of low blows but it was too little and too late even for the foul tactics. Judges had it 80-73, 79-73 and 79-73 - all for Karen Chukhadzyan. Funeka has lost his third straight.
WBA #10 ranked cruiserweight Issa Akberbayev (20-0, 15 KOs) of Kazakhstan easily stopped Bosnian Mirnes Denadic (10-6, 4 KOs) after three rounds, as a guest fighter chose to retire on his stool.
Ukraine-based Georgian Mishiko Beselia (17-0, 12 KOs) wasn't beating his compatriots unlike a majority of K2 Ukraine-promoted boxers this night. Beselia, 25, fought Ukrainian puncher Denis Checheta (9-5-1, 8 KOs) instead and stopped him within three rounds.
Well-known fringe contender Max Bursak (34-5-1, 15 KOs) came back to a winning column eight months following his listless performance against reigning WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez with an eight-round unanimous decision over Georgian Soso Abuladze (13-8-1, 9 KOs).
Dangerously punching Ukrainian light middleweight Stanislav Skorokhod (17-1, 14 KOs) got his fifth consecutive stoppage win in 2017, destroying experienced but overmatched Georgian Nodar Robakidze (22-26-5, 9 KOs) in three rounds. Skorokhod is also 8-0, 7 KOs, since dropping a split decision to American John Thompson in 2015 Boxcino's semifinal. Thompson later challenged Liam Smith for a vacant WBO light middleweight championship only to lose on a kayo.
In a battle of two undefeated fighters, 20-year old Aram Faniyan improved his record to 12-0, 1 KO, following a unanimous decision over 23-year old Italian import Giuseppe Carafa (9-1-1, 1 KO), outpointing him unanimously over six.
Belarussian middleweight champion Nikolay Veselov (6-0, 3 KOs) finished his debut year in style, stopping experienced Hungarian Zoltan Sera (30-15-1, 20 KOs) in round five of the scheduled six.
Cruiserweight Stanislav Kutin (3-0, 2 KOs) went the distance for the first time in his career, outpointing Georgian import Ramazi Gogichaishvili (30-23-2, 17 KOs) unanimously over four rounds.