By Alexey Sukachev
The late spring and hot summer of 2012 were highlighted by several big showdowns on the both sides of Atlantic Ocean, by Chisora-Haye controversy and by controversial London Olympics with its scandals and upsets. Still there was a plenty of action in continental Europe as well.
In this two-part and four-month report presented are some interesting results and tiny details of the fighters and fights, which usually go under our radars. Most of these events were either held in Eastern Europe or involved battlers from those lands.
Middleweight upset artist Alexey Ribchev (13-3-1, 3 KOs) continued to build up his record with a convincing win over Argentinean Crispulo Javier Andino (14-4-1, 6 KOs) during a night of boxing, promoted by Vasko Vasilev at National Winter Palace of Sports in Sofia, Bulgaria, Ribchev went down in the second in a flash knockdown but easily worked his way back to a wide unanimous decision over twelve. Scores were 118-110 and 118-109 (twice) – in a virtual shutout.
On the same card, local cruiserweight Spas Genov (7-0, 6 KOs) stopped Serbian Mise Nikolic (7-14, 4 KOs) in three, and former WBC/WIBF bantamweight queen Galina Koleva Ivanova (13-7-3, 1 KO) didn’t disappoint as well, getting her second straight “W” after a lengthy lay-off. Ivanova schooled Serbian Fleis Djendji (13-14-1, 7 KOs) over six. Scores were 60-54 across the boards.
One of the best Croatian amateur fighters in recent memory Stjepan Vugdelija made his professional debut this May in Split, Croatia. Vudgelija, 27, fought the best as an amateur in heavyweight ranks, which corresponds to the cruiserweight division in prizefighting. Vugdelija knocked out Elvir Buhdulovic (0-5) in one on May 19. On Aug. 12 he repeated this trick against Hungarian trialhorse Zsolt Kezi (1-2) also in one
Sometimes it hurts. Former Commonwealth and IBO light middleweight champion Richard Williams (21-5-1, 17 KOs) came out of retirement days after he had turned 41, and was brutally stopped in the very first round by Lithuanian Virgilijus Stapulionis (19-1, 13 KOs) at ExCel in London. Time was 2:24. Stapulionis, 26, got his biggest career win. He is 4-0, 4 KOs, since being stopped in three by Thomas Troellenberg of Germany in 2009.
Pekka Maki, a well-known Finnish boxing devotee, is best celebrated for his regionally powerful promotional company P3 Boxing, which managed Amin Asikainen in the past and now works with an assortment of fighters, including highly ranked Russian light welterweight Denis Shafikov. However, Makki isn’t dedicated only to the big events and leaves some room for more measured activities.
On May 19, he organized a tiny event of boxing in Leppavaara with just three boxing bouts making up the card. In what was the biggest fight of the night, local prospect Niko Jokinen improved to 18-0, with 6 KOs, after shutting out 20-year old Lithuanian Dmitry Kalinovskij (now 7-13, 2 KOs, but was 7-9 before the fight) in six: 60-54 – on all the judges’ scorecards.
If you think you have seen everything in boxing, you can find yourself very wrong sometimes. This reporter was reminded about this simple axiom, when he got to know the results of a big (but meaningless) tournament, which was held on June 7 in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
A ten-round fight between Mamuka Jikurashvili (21-1-1, 14 KOs) and Zurab Noniashvili (13-8-2, 6 KOs) for a vacant national heavyweight title has ended a draw – not a big feat if you ask anyone. Much more astonishing were the scores: 100-100, and 99-99 (twice). That means three of the judges combined found just two rounds (of 30) to be awarded to one of the boxers. Both fighters should have been fighting a really toss-up fight to get the scores like this. Not try to repeat this one in America - such a trick seems to be uniquely Georgian.
Azerbaijani light welterweight Azad Azizov (26-3-2, 16 KOs) may not be the most refined fighter in the world but he definitely knows his job well to take care of those, who aren’t matched even with him. On May 12, Azizov stopped former IBF Youth champion Rene Mahling (16-2-1, 12 KOs) within five rounds of one-sided beating. Azizov, a very unstable fighter who scored several quality wins over the last couple of years but lost on points to 4-2-2 Geoffrey Gaya and drew with already beaten Nasser Athumani, this time was quite impressive and left no chances to his opponent.
On the same card, Matthias Pelk, a son of the promoter Enrico Pelk, barely got past Bakhtiyar Iskanderzadeh (8-2, 1 KO) with a split technical decision over four rounds. Scores were: 30-27, 29-28 and 28-30 – for the German. Also victorious were two other Azeri imports Fariz Mamedov (11-1, 6 KOs) and Rauf Aghayev (9-1, 3 KOs). Both scored TKO 4 wins over irrelevant opponents.
Former European champion and world title challenger Michel Trabant (48-4-1, 22 KOs) got back to his boxing activities and knocked out Vladimir Fecko of Czech Republic in the fifth, which was not a hard task to accomplish as his record before the fight was 2-49-2. Trabant is just 34 but way over his peak. He started his career at 16 and reached the highest point nine years ago when he lost to the WBA light middleweight champion Jose Antonio Rivera via close majority decision.
The show was promoted by Stephan Posch in Berlin. On the same card, Tommy Altmann (17-1-1, 5 KOs) barely got past Jindrich Kubin (8-10, 4 KOs) with a majority nod over six. Scores were: 58-56, 59-57 and 58-58. Kubin’s brother Bronislav (12-10-1, 7 KOs) lost to Ferdinand Pilz (5-0, 4 KOs) via TKO in the ninth in a bid for a vacant German International super middleweight title.
A small show, promoted by Holger Ludwig in Halle an der Salle, was filled mostly with irrelevant fights that saw local boys easily getting the best over a very poor opposition. One fight, however, was slightly different. Surely, Marcen Gierke (now 10-46-2) was no match for his opponent. However, the latter was Karlo Tabaghua (18-3, 13 KOs), a Georgian cosmopolitan, who fought in various European countries but primarily in Poland. Tabaghua had not been seen in the ring for 14 months since his major upset win over Jackson Osei Bonsu in Belgium. This time the Georgian dropped his opponent twice in the second and in the third rounds, before Gierke was stopped in the fourth stanza.
On the same card, 22-year old light middleweight bomber Roman Belyaev moved to 8-0, with 7 KOs, after the first-round blowout of the Polish veteran Mariusz Biskupski (17-21-1, 7 KOs). Russia-born Belyaev will be tested very tough the next Friday, when he faces upset-minded Latvian Senjons Moroseks (17-19-1, 7 KOs) over eight in the very same city. Moroseks is coming off a kayo win over 11-1-1 Disarjot Gaxhi. The last year he also knocked out world-ranked Italian Luciano Abis (31-1-1) in less than three minutes.
German promoter Erol Ceylan, who operates quite a sizable team of fighters, made a little show with some recognizable names at Braamkamp gym in Hamburg. The show mostly featured former prospects in their redemption fights as well as a pair of youngsters from the Gevor family.
In what seemed to be the main event, Montenegrin heavyweight Goran Gogic (21-4-2, 14 KOs) stopped hapless Romanian Liviu Ungureanu (1-14, 1 KO) with just 32 seconds remaining in the eighth and last round. Next for Gogic is a fight with skillful but fading Ukrainian Taras Bidenko (28-5, 12 KOs) in a staying-alive cross-roader.
Russian light heavyweight southpaw Igor Mikhalkin (12-1, 7 KOs) was once a promising fighter with wins over fellow prospects and former contenders but his career took the downward spiral after his close but clear loss to the Polish veteran Aleksy Kuziemski. He was out of the ring for more than two years since that setback. In Hamburg he got back to his activities and decisioned Turk Yavuz Kelez (7-6-1, 4 KOs) over six. Also, former Serbian amateur standout and durable gatekeeper Geard Ajetovic (20-7-1, 9 KOs) outpointed Romanian journeyman Ionut Trandafir Ilie (14-13-1, 2 KOs) over six.
Noel Gevor (5-0, 3 KOs) PTS 6 Michal Bilak (19-21, 10 KOs)
Abel Gevor (1-0) PTS 4 Mihai Macovei (7-11, 4 KOs)
Frank Odoi (1-0, 1 KO) KO 1 Goekhan Kaya (0-8)
Kazakhstan prizefighting is majorly known for its welterweight to heavyweight operators, including former and reigning world champions Vassiliy Jirov, Beibut Shumenov and Gennady Golovkin. However, one of the biggest Asian states has its stars in lower weight classes as well. One of them, bantamweight punching terror Zhanat Zhakiyanov (18-1, 11 KOs) was showcased on this date in a small card, co-promoted by local manager/promoter Erik Jailauov, well-known Belgian impresario Philippe Fondu and Ricky Hatton’s Hatton Promotions.
Zhakiyanov is being guided by the best boxer of 2005 and not for nothing as was proved him his three-round blowout of Kyrgyz import Timur Shailezov (16-5-1, 3 KOs). Shailezov has previously scored wins over Argentinean Julio David Roque Ler and Guyanese Leon Moore and was stopped just once before that. Meanwhile, Zhakiyanov scored his fifth kayo win in a row and set his eyes on the EBU belt, which is now held by Lee Haskins of Great Britain.
In the main support fight of the night, cruiserweight banger Elyor Gulomov stopped debutant Jaisulan Sainanov in two and moved up to 7-0, with 6 KOs.
Latvian veteran debutant and kickboxing standout Konstantins Gluhovs (3-0, 1 KO) came out a winner of another of the Bigger’s Better Boxing Series, which was held at the Siemens Arena in Vilnius.
As always, there were three stages of the tourney, performed according to roughly the same rules, which are used for the Prizefighter Series. Legendary referee Steve Smoger worked for the whole night of boxing. There were only cruiserweights and heavyweights who competed in the show.
Konstantins Gluhovs (1-0, Latvia) SD 3 Sergey Masloboyev (0-2, Lithuania)
Adrian Poputea (1-0, Romania) UD 3 Jonathan Pasi (22-24-2, 8 KOs, Germany)
Shakhriyar Weissi (1-0, Denmark) UD 3 Alexander Pantyukhov (0-1, Belarus)
Kamil Sokolowski (1-1, 1 KO) TKO 3 Mattias Lundkvist (0-1, Sweden)
Gluhovs (2-0, 1 KO) TKO 3 Poputea (1-1)
Sokolowski (2-1, 1 KO) SD 3 Weissi (1-1)
Gluhovs (3-0, 1 KO) UD 3 Sokolowski
Former super featherweight world title challenger Sergey Gulyakevich (37-2, 14 KOs) of Minsk, Belarus, is slowly coming back to the fighting activities after a year and a half of a forced hiatus. Gulyakevich, 31, is best known for his close loss to Humberto Mauro Gutierrez via a majority decision in August 2009. He scored 5 wins since then but was sidelined for a long time due to promotional and managerial problems. Gulyakevich scored two easy wins in March and April of 2012 and continued his tour with the same success in May and July – this time in Riga, Latvia.
On May 12, Gulyakevich bested experienced professional loser Ravil Mukhamadiarov (8-46-2, 6 KOs at the time) over four with the sole score being 40-36. Two weeks later, the Belarussian went the distance with 20-year old Latvian Janis Puksins (1-9-2) and easily outpointed him over six: 58-55, 59-51 and 59-50. Puksins went down several times in that fight. On July 14, the Belarussian once again repeated this trick by shutting out another Latvian trialhorse Deniss Aleksejevs (6-27-3, 5 KOs) on all three scorecards after a one-sided six-rounder. Scores were identical: 60-54 – for Gulyakevich. And, finally, on July 27 Gulyakevich ended this busy phase with another UD 6 that wasn’t as easy as his victories before. The Belarussian struggled against dangerous Georgian upset artist Kakhaber Avetisyan (25-18-1, 8 KOs). Avetisyan fought on even terms with a former world title challenger up until the fifth round. In the fifth he was deducted a point for rabbit punching, and Gulyakevich decked him during the next stanza. The final two rounds made a difference, and all three judges gave the fight to the Belarussian: 58-57 and 59-55 (twice).
Following the disappointing end of 2011 (his loss to Ivica Bacurin in his second Bigger’s Better Boxing tournament in December), Mairis Briedis needed some redemption, and he has been getting one during 2012. He started it in March with the first-round stoppage of debutant Ruslan Siniavskiy. On June 16 Briedis moved on and got his biggest win so far by destroying former super middleweight contender Jozsef Nagy (27-12, 16 KOs) in just two rounds. Nagy, 37, is very much past his prime, unlike the Latvian, who is ten years his younger. Nagy was down once in the first and once in the second before the stoppage came at 1:07.
Three weeks later Briedis made his successful return to the Bigger’s Better world of three-rounders and won its next installment in Limassol, Cyprus. Briedis started it with the first-round blowout of Congolese Cypriot Louis Louison (1-1), then moved on to score the UD 3 against Robert Teuber (6-0, 5 KOs) of Germany. In the final, Briedis met his bitter rival Pavel “Caiman” Zhuravlev (11-1, 7 KOs) and beat him with a razor-thin split decision over three rounds. Both fought each other in the first ever installment of the BBB in May 2010, when Briedis won a UD. The second time was no charm for the Ukrainian.
1. Pavel Zhuravlev (Ukraine, 10-1, 6 KOs) TKO 1 Kamil Malysz (0-1)
2. Mairis Briedis (Latvia, 11-1, 9 KOs) TKO 1 Louis Louison (Cyprus, 1-1)
3. Robert Teuber (Germany, 6-0, 5 KOs) UD 3 Lee Kellett (England, 4-6-2, 3 KOs)
4. Panagiotis Diakos (Cyprus, 1-2) UD 3 Adrian Lepadatesku (Romania, 0-2)
1. Zhuravlev (11-1, 7 KOs) TKO 2 Diakos
2. Briedis (12-1, 9 KOs) UD 3 Teuber (6-1, 5 KOs)
Briedis (13-1, 9 KOs) SD 3 Zhuravlev (11-2, 7 KOs)
To be continued…