By Alexey Sukachev
Olympic Stadium, Moscow, Russia - Facing one of his toughest opponents in front of a roaring local crowd, Russian cruiserweight stalwart Grigory Drozd got probably his biggest career win, overpowering previously undefeated Pole Mateusz Masternak (30-1, 22 KOs) in eleven rounds of brutal action. Drozd is now the EBU cruiserweight champion.
After a feeling-out opening stanza, WBC/IBF #8, WBA #10 and WBO #14 Drozd wobbled Masternak badly with a right in the second. He followed it up with a couple of hard shots, opening a cut over the Pole's left eye. WBC #2, IBF #3, WBA #5 and WBO #7 rated European champion was passive and took shots in the next three rounds.
Drozd, 34, had very big rounds six and seven, putting Masternak in danger of going down several times. The Pole did better on the next three rounds but the Russian challenger retained his composure despite growing fatigue.
Early in the eleventh, Drozd fired another series of punches, pinned Masternak to the corner and landed more punches at will, forcing Italian referee Massimo Barrovecchio to wave the contest off at the beginning of the eleventh. BoxingScene had it 97-93 for Drozd at the time of stoppage.
IBF #4 and WBA #8 former heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (32-2-1, 21 KOs) easily derailed Jovo Pudar's late career comeback with a convincing workmanlike twelve-round unanimous decision.
41-year old WBA #7 Serbian/Bosnian was too slow, too inactive to give Chagaev any troubles. His punches were way off mark, and he was hit time and again. Pudar's (30-4, 17 KOs) was down early in the third, following a left hand of Chagaev, and again in the eighth on a combination of punches.
Final scores were: 118-108, 117-109 and 115-111 for the new WBA intercontinental and PABA titlist from Uzbekistan. BoxingScene saw it 119-107 - also for Chagaev.
Former WBC title challenger Rakhim Chakhkiev (17-1, 13 KOs) had a successful comeback following his recent crushing defeat from Krzysztof Wlodarczyk and annihilated usually durable Romanian Giuliani Illie at 0:49 of the tenth and last round.
WBC #5 Chakhkiev was in full control of the fight from round one but Ilie (20-7-2, 6 LOs) was elusive enough to avoid significant danger except for the ending seconds of rounds two and five. The fight was quietly reaching its end, when Rakhim took the job out of the judges' hands with a colossal right hook, which has taken Ilie out instantly.