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 two-part of this 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.
Dereck Chisora fought David Haye on one of the best boxing nights this year in a thrilling but unsanctioned fight. Troubled Scottish super middleweight Scott Dixon (34-10-4, 9 KOs) repeated this trick to a degree on a much lower scale at Prembroke arena in Prembroke, Malta.
Dixon, now 35, has never been an elite fighter but he was a competitive although unsuccessful combatant. He once held WBB and Commonwealth welterweight titles and had wins over young Jamie Moore and Ruben Varon. His career, however, has seemingly ended on a sad note when he was badly beaten outside the ring in his native Glasgow. Dixon disappeared for three years only to find his revelation in Malta.
The Scotsman has been residing in one of the tiniest European states since 2005. He was also involved in some seemingly unsanctioned fighting against local boys. The dark side of his story followed him even there as he was put behind the bars recently for a suspected drug trafficking. That didn’t prevent the World Boxing Union to sanction Dixon’s fight on Aug. 25 (on the same date Arthur Abraham beat Robert Stieglitz for his title) for its super middleweight title against reigning champion Baker Barakat (36-13-4, 24 KOs).
Dixon overcame his ring rust and showed his trademark stand-up character to make up for a huge deficit in the first half down the stretch. He dropped Barakat in the twelfth and it was enough to get him a split decision over twelve: 116-112 (twice) and 113-115.
On the same card, Italian Daniel Knieps (29-1-1, 14 KOs) suffered his second career setback by fighting to a draw with Tiran Mkrstchjan (5-0-3, 3 KOs) with the scores: 114-114, 114-114 and 116-112. Knieps, 23, debuted at paid ranks in July 2010 and scored 29 wins in less than 16 months after that; just three of them being against fighters with a positive record.
Balkan promoters Redzo Dedeic (Kety Box promotion) and Darko Popivoda (Balkan Boxing) unified their efforts to produce a tiny two-fight show in Bijelo Polje (White Field), Montenegro.
In the main event, IBF #10 ranked middleweight and one of a new breed of undefeated Montenegrin prospects (alongside WBC #1 super middleweight Nikola Sjekloca and highly touted lightweight Dejan Zlaticanin) Predrag Radosevic (26-0, 9 KOs) once again proved his credentials with a methodical win over twelve rounds against capable Georgian Shalva Jomardashvili (32-5-2, 24 KOs) to retain his IBF International title for the second time. Still, Radosevic, 27, has much to improve in order to become a real, not a paper contender.
Jomardashvili took a month off and then annihilated his irrelevant compatriot Badri Stefanishvili (2-10) in the very first round on June 21 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Interestingly, this bout was supervised by possibly the best Georgian pro fighter George Kandelaki and was held at… Kandelaki sports hall.
In a support bout, Germany-based Turk Ismail Oezen moved to 5-0, 5 KOs, after stopping human punch-bag Ervin Slonka (3-32-1, 3 KOs) in three.
On this date, rising super middleweight prospect Gevorg Khatchikian, originally from Armenia, got his 17th victory so far, stopping Germany-based Turk Mustafa Dogan (4-5, 3 KOs) in four rounds in Heerlen. Mustafa had been down twice in the third round, before his corner chose not to let Dogan out for the fourth stanza.
Interestingly, it’s the second win over a fighter, named Dogan, for Khatchikian (17-0, 6 KOs). In March he outpointed Ata Dogan over six. He is also 5-0 against boxers of the Turkish origin. Next for Khatchikian is a bout for a vacant WBC International title in Rome, Italy, against local boy Giovanni De Carolis (17-4, 8 KOs) on Sep. 28.
Jakub Grajewski, a controversial Polish-German boxing promoter, organized a three-fight tiny international match between Polish and German low-profile boxers on May 18 in Poznan. All featured bouts of the evening have been fought at 160lb limit.
In what seemed to be the main event, middleweight Daniel Urbanski (then 21-9-3, 5 KOs), 27, was thoroughly outboxed by 23-year old Ronny Mittag (15-1-1, 7 KOs) over ten. Scores were: 99-91, 100-90 and 100-92 – for the German.
Veteran Mariusz Biskupski (16-20-1, 6 KOs) suffered yet another disappointing defeat from barely capable Nick Klappert (14-1, 9 KOs). Scores were: 56-58 – for Biskupski, 59-57 and 60-54 – for Klappert. And, finally, the only Pole to get a hometown win was undefeated Krzysztof Chudecki (4-0-1), who shut out German trialhorse Marcen Gierke (10-44-2) over six with identical scores: 60-54. There were six more irrelevant fights on the card.
Before he was controversially defeated in early June by Polish heavyweight hope Andrzej Wawrzyk, Denis Bakhtov (now 35-8, 24 KOs) took part in a local tournament at Yunost arena in Klimovsk, Russia, and knocked badly faded Ukrainian Sergey Babich (10-5, 8 KOs) out in two. Time of stoppage was 1:54, and for Babich that loss was his fifth in a row following ten victories since his pro debut.
The whole card was promoted by Sergey Stepkin and Union Boxing Management. The show also featured several long-awaited comebacks of local prospects. Hugely underrated but very tough veteran Roman Seliverstov (14-8, 4 KOs), who earlier defeated highly regarded contenders Michael Trabant and Cosme Rivera, stopped Latvian Jevgenijs Fedorovs (7-33-4, 2 KOs) on a cut in the sixth round. Also victorious were previously undefeated BBU light middleweight champion Vusal Aliyev (10-0, 5 KOs), super bantamweight Nikolay Potapov (7-0, 5 KOs), lightweight Roman Andreev (12-0, 9 KOs) and super middleweight Fedor Chudinov (5-0, 4 KOs). All wins came against non-descript opposition. For the latter, it was his first fight (and TKO 1) in Russia, since making his pro debut in America three years ago.
Igor Shafer, a once capable and powerful Russian boxing promoter, who is now limited to a very obscure venues and almost unknown fighters, staged a small card at Manezh arena in an ancient city of Novgorod with the help of Ilya Kutuzov.
No big names there but local North-Western Russia’s talent Andrey Meryasev (10-0, 9 KOs), Vladimir Tikhonov (5-0, 2 KOs) and Abdulla Abdurakhmanov (4-0-1, 4 KOs) got their next wins over limited competition – all by the way of knockout. Meryasev, 24, fought just for the second time after three years of hiatus.
In a rare female boxing fight, Indian import Sonia Parab (1-0) made quite an impressive pro debut at Aquarium Hall in Myakinino, Moscow, Russia, and outpointed capable Italian veteran fighter and former EBU super flyweight titlist Maria Rosa Tabbuso (13-5-2, 3 KOs) in four: 40-36 (twice) and 40-37. She will be fun to watch after.
Reigning Baltic Boxing Union super bantamweight champion Andrey Bogdanov (15-1-1, 5 KOs) headlined a small local show in his hometown of Pskov, which was promoted by Igor Sudelainen. In a non-title attraction, Bogdanov dropped his Kazakh opponent Zhandos Zhetpisbayev (5-3, 2 KOs) twice (in the 2nd and in the 4th rounds) and then knocked him out in the seventh round.
On the same card Artur Akavov (6-1) outpointed Dmitry Pankratov (2-4, 1 KO) over six with lopsided scores (60-52 x3). Pankratov was down twice.
Promoters Davorin Lampe and Ljubisa Ignatovic unified their efforts and put up a nice little competition at Belgrade Hall of Sports under IBF aegis and with two regional IBF titles on the line.
IBF #8 ranked light middleweight Nikola Stevanovic (23-1-1, 8 KOs) overcame tough resistance of the Belgian “Prince” Ayoub Nefzi (17-2-1, 3 KOs) and a cut after an accidental headbutt in round one to earn a wide unanimous decision over twelve rounds. Scores were: 117-111 (twice) and 118-113 – for 25-year old Stevanovic, who defended his IBF I/C title for the fourth time. Stevanovic is presently one of the best active Balkan fighters at the scene.
On the same card, Germany-based Turk Uensal Arik continued his terrific kayo streak by knocking out Tanzanian Benson Mwakyembe (9-2-1, 5 KOs) in two. That was Arik’s 13th stoppage win in a row since a knockout loss in his pro debut, which was amazingly less than a year ago from the fight date! Five of Arik’s victories took place in Ghana, and even more surprising is the fact that he scored 4 wins in just 17 and 20 days – in September 2011 and in February 2012 respectively. Arik acquired a vacant IBF East/West Europe super middleweight title in process.
In a notable fight in the undercard, Stefan Stevanovic, Nikola’s younger brother, stopped Vladimir Tazik (4-17-1) in two. He is now 11-0, with 3 KOs.
Light middleweight Milan Piperski (9-0, 3 KOs) continued his unbeaten run and also scored his biggest win so far in Zlatibor, when he beat a brave but unskilled Ukrainian crowd-pleaser Bogdan Protsyshin (7-5, 2 KOs) over twelve entertaining rounds. Scores (120-108, 120-110 and 118-112) don’t fully reflect the tense nature of this encounter. Piperski, 30, retained his WBC CISBB 154lb title with this win.
The show was organized by Darko Popivoda of the Balkan Boxing. Other notable results:
Petar Zivkovic (12-0, 6 KOs) KO 1 Bojan Zarkov (3-7, 2 KOs)
Zvjezdan Vidakovic (6-0, 3 KOs) TKO 1 Igor Petkov (0-1)
Russian lightweight/light welterweight Petr Petrov (31-3-2, 14 KOs), now 29, who is constantly living and fighting in Spain, continued his road of redemption after a spirited effort but a crushing loss (KO 4) to Marcos Maidana for the WBA interim title last September. On May 26 Petrov put on a boxing clinic and also used some power to dominate Georgian upset master Kakhaber Avetisyan (24-17-1, 7 KOs) over ten very one-sided rounds in Madrid. Avetisyan, 22, who has previously defeated 29-0 Frenchman Guillaume Salinge, was down in rounds three, six and ten to lose a lopsided decision. Scores were 100-86 (twice) and 99-89 – for Petrov.
On the same card, welterweight Ceferino Rodriguez (8-0, 6 KOs) outclassed Columbian journeyman Euclides Espitia (23-28-3, 14 KOs) in six rounds. Scores were: 60-53, 59-54 and 59-55 – for the Spaniard.
Georgian cruiserweight champion Levan Jomardashvili (28-7, 20 KOs), 23, scored the biggest win of his career, and he did it in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, against a local favorite Luis Rodriguez (7-0, 2 KOs). Jomardashvili got a close call with identical scores (96-94) on all the scorecards. He has built up his record in Georgia (20-0, 16 KOs after the start) before being downplayed to be a usual journeyman abroad. All in all, he is 27-0 at home, and now 1-7 – abroad.
Former Russian lightweight champion Andrey Klimov (14-0, 8 KOs), 30, continued his undefeated run in the States with the knockout of determined Mexican challenger Alejandro Rodriguez (14-7, 7 KOs) in the tenth and last round.
Klimov has been slowly building up his career in Russia before coming to the USA in 2011. He is 4-0, 3 KOs, since then (which includes the stoppage of 18-1-1 Ty Barnett in his debut and the WBC USNBC title around his waist).
After a relatively long break in significant pro boxing activities, Uzbekistan got back on track with three consecutive tournaments during a month span in early summer.
Ruslan Dadakhanov of Billur occupied Jar sports palace in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, for his huge show, which featured no less than ten fights; but mostly recent debutants were involved in promotion.
The only title bout of the night saw lightweight Rustam Abdurasulov (7-1-2, 5 KOs), winning the national title, with a convincing ten-round unanimous decision over Shavkat Halilov (7-2, 1 KO). Halilov was down in the fifth and lost widely on all the scorecards: 90-100 (twice) and 92-99. In another encounter worth spending a string or two, lightweight Bekzod Nabiev (21-2-1, 15 KOs) knocked out debutant Ulugbek Sadikov (0-1) in two at welterweight limit.
Well-known heavyweight contender Timur Ibragimov (31-4-1, 16 KOs), 37, fought in his native country for the first time as a pro after travelling all over the world in the past years. Ibragimov, formerly a ranked fighter, made his return under Husan Shirmatov promotion in Namangan (it was his first appearance since a crushing defeat from Seth Mitchell in December 2011) and decisioned game South African heavyweight champion and a hard-hitter Wiseman Dlomo (10-9-2, 6 KOs) over twelve to capture a vacant WBA Pan African belt. Dlomo was down in the fourth round but offered tough resistance to a much more experienced combatant. Scores were quite close: 117-110, 117-112 and 116-112 – for the Uzbek fighter.
Azamat Matkarimov (15-0, 8 KOs) UD 6 Abdulaziz Fozilov (0-2)
Bahyt Andurahimov (10-6, 3 KOs) TKO 2 Valikhon Kuralbaev (0-5)
Olim Nazarov (9-1, 7 KOs) TKO 4 Abdysamat Turdymet (2-2)
Jamshid Karimov (5-0, 4 KOs) UD 4 Umid Yakubov (1-2)
Five days later, Shirmatov unified his efforts with a much bigger player in KZ Event Productions (ruled by the Shumenov brothers) to create another nice show in a local city of Andijan.
In the main event, WBA #1 ranked light heavyweight Gayrat Akhmedov (18-0-1, 11 KOs) repelled a hard challenge by Russian national champion Karen Avetisyan (5-4-1), whose deceiving record is much better than one can realize, to win a close unanimous decision over ten rounds of this non-title bout. Akhmedov, 33, is in position to fight for a world title – officially! – but in reality he is being used as a barrier for a possible challenger at the belt owned by Beibut Shumenov, who also promotes this Uzbek veteran. In order to get a shot at Shumenov (i.e. to become a mandatory challenger) one should beat Akhmedov, and that’s not an easy task to do as he is quite a capable boxer.
Also, welterweight Sherzodbek Alimjanov (21-2, 12 KOs) outpointed Hokim Karimov (3-1, 2 KOs) unanimously over six.