By Alexey Sukachev
Krasnodar, Russia - WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog (19-0, 15 KOs) retained his title with a tenth round stoppage of mandatory challenger Gennady Martirosyan (22-3, 11 KOs). It was a thrilling but ultimately one-sided fight, and the first ever all-Russian title encounter in boxing history. The challenger's corner rejected Gennady's vicitmization by waving off the fight off after the end of the tenth round. Martirosyan, depsite his sad ending, never went down and has every right to be proud of his performance. Pirog further solidified his claim of being an elite middleweight .
Notably for the sceptics, Armenia-born but St. Petersburg-based Martirosyan entered the ring under the Russian flag, and so did Pirog. Martirosyan, a crude stocky slugger with limited power but limitless character and will, was Pirog's mandatory before more compelling fights could be made under the WBO aegis.
The fight was as one-sided as one could probably anticipate. Short-handed Martirosyan was in Pirog's range of fire and couldn't avoid being hit by mulitple combinations. Pirog mixed in uppercuts with multiple jabs to the face of the challenger and with hooks to both head and body of Martirosyan, who had a long and painful night ahead of him.
One punch after another, Martirosyan was slowly being degraded to the state of journeyman. The champion was an entirely different boxer than what he appeared to be in his last outing, a lackluster performance against Javier Francisco Maciel in March. Pirog fired at will and used body movement and excellent defensive skills to stay away from Martirosyan's range. He also avoided wild swings - the only weapon, which the challenger could use and used to little effect.
It's to be said that the challenger has never stopped trying and delivered an exemplar performance of courage and dignity. However, both his stature and his skill set was too limited to give the champion a stern test. Martirosyan indeed had some moments in the fourth and in the fifth rounds but he earned an even score at best. Pirog, playing with him, turned up the pace in the seventh round and began to deliver quality power punches to the head of Martirosyan. Gennady's face was battered and his right eye was almost completely swollen shut and his right cheek suffered a cut. Gennady tried some roughhouse tactics but it wasn't enough.
In round nine, both fighters were down due a wet canvas, and both falls were rightfully called slips by referee Victor Panin. In the tenth, Pirog invited an onrushing Martirosyan closer and landed series of horrific punches, which forced the challenger's legs to buckle. Pirog continued the beating but miraculously Martirosyan survived until the end of the stanza without going down. Right after that one-sided beating, the fight was stopped by Martirosyan's coach Vladimir Vidov - TKO 10 for Pirog. BoxingScene had the fight 100-91 - at the time of stoppage.
In a mismatch, lanky super middleweight boxer-puncher Maxim Vlasov (21-1, 11 KOs) easily destroyed unheralded and inexperienced Gasan Gasanov (3-1, 3 KOs) in the very first round. Vlasov dropped Gasanov down firstly with a huge right hand and then ended the one-sided spectacle with another couple of right-hand bombs. Vlasov is now 2-0 since his close loss to Isaac Chilemba this February.
More competetive was another expected mismatch between WBC #8 light heavyweight Roman Simakov and former world kick boxing champion Mukhtar Khizriev. Simakov tagged Khizriev with one heavy blow after another in the first but Khizriev didn't wilt under pressure and kept his composure trying to engage Simakov with a street fight in close quarters.
Both fighters exchanged huge punches in the second and in the third stanzas but in the third it became obvious that Khizriev, depsite all his durability, couldn't withstand such heavy punishment. Referee Alexander Margushin issued a standing eight count early in the fourth stanza. Khizriev (now 2-1) continued to retaliate but was soon hurt with a brutal combination, issued by Simakov (19-1-1, 9 KOs), went down on one knee, and the fight was waved off by the referee immediately after that on the suggestion of Khizriev's corner.
Fedor "Mr. Knockout" Papazov (8-0, 6 KOs) got another notable name (locally) to his victim list with a sixth-round stoppage of durable Kyrgyz Jahongir Abdullaev (18-6, 6 KOs). Papazov looked determined to stop Abdullaev in the very first round but was too charged up to get the job done with a single knockout punch and, thus, was unable to deliver it in time. Abdullaev started to connect with some leather in the second stanza, and Papazov was forced to engage in a war with his more experienced foe. Abdullaev bobbed and weaved under fire but withstood firing pressure until the middle of the fifth round, when Papazov dropped him down in the corner with a left uppercut to the body. The Kyrgyz battler, who has now six losses in his last seven fights, got up and lasted until the end of the round. However, in the sixth, Papazov increased his punch output, hurt Abdullaev badly and finished him off at 0:56 of the round.
Cruiserweight Dmitry Kudriashov got his second professional win (once again by the way of stoppage) after his chubby opponent Vyacheslav Scherbakov (3-14-1, 2 KOs) retired in his corner after the first round. Kudriashov dropped Scherbakov twice - once with a right hand to the head and once with a huge left hook to the liver. Scherbakov beat both counts but was too hurt to be allowed to continue by the local referee, who stopped the contest after the second knockdown simultaneously with a sound of thebell. Scherbakov has now lost thirteen fights (out of fourteen losses) inside the distance.
In the opening fight of the night, 18-year old welterweight talent Konstantin Ponomarev (11-0, 5 KOs) got the better of journeyman Sergey Sergeyev (2-5) over six rounds. The young and aggressive southpaw, Ponomarev, clearly dominated the fight with his unrelenting pressure but was unable either to stop Sergeyev or put him to the floor even though Sergey was visibly shaken several times during the contest. All three judges awarded a unanimous decision to Ponomarev, who is a promising young gun but still has plenty of work to do before taking on more experienced and more skilled oppponents.