By Alexey Sukachev and Dmitry Mikhalchuk
K2 Promotions planned a sound return for three of their best protégés at the Palace of Sports in Odessa, Ukraine. The show took place this past Satuday, and what was thought to be another step into a right direction and a pair of tough but very winnable match-ups became prolonged nightmare for two of the trio.
In the main event, Vyacheslav Uzelkov (27-2, 16 KOs), who is presently ranked #6 by the WBA and #7 by the IBF, was taken into deep water by Mohamed Belkacem, a Swiss challenger for a vacant WBO I/C light heavyweight title. Belkacem, clearly not a world-beater by any means, used Uzelkov’s laziness and a considerable lack of desire to build an early lead in the first half of the bout. The Ukrainian, who hasn’t looked to be even remotely close to his best shape, was inactive, didn’t do anything of note in the ring and wasn’t particularly effective offensively. Uzelkov used his skills later on to get an edge over the very ordinary opponent with a majority decision over twelve rounds: 116-112, 115-113 and 114-114. Uzelkov has much to think about, while Belkacem (20-6-1, 9 KOs) has nothing to be ashamed of even despite a close loss.
In another fight, and a very controversial one, previously undefeated WBO #11 welterweight Valery Brazhnik (29-0-1, 17 KOs) was pushed to his very limit by unheralded but very tough journeyman Igor Fanian (11-4-2, 6 KOs) and was extremely lucky to get a very dubious majority decision. Fanian chose to be a smooth boxer and a slick trickster against a very pressuring opponent. However, Brazhnik was way too straightforward and paid a painful price for that – specifically, in the first half of the fight. He was also badly cut due to an accidental headbutt. Fanian was deducted a point for using his head and experienced some severe problems late in the bout but won it handily in the end. BoxingScene’s own Dmitry Mikhalchuk saw it 77-74 – for Fanian. However, official scores were completely different: 77-77 – a draw, and 76-75 and 77-76 – for Brazhnik, who won a small battle but lost a much bigger load of the fans' support.
Unlike both Uzelkov an Brazhnik, Max Bursak (25-1-1, 11 KOs), who suffered a loss in his recent attempt to win a vacant WBO interim-title from Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in May, looked sensational in his first-round blowout of Estonian fighter Sergey Melis (18-11, 7 KOs). It was Bursak’s first bout after his loss to the French Cameroonian and it took him only 40 seconds to succeed big. Melis was immediately down following a crisp left hook to the liver and went down twice more before an official stoppage.
In a bid for a vacant WBO European title at 154 lbs, fan favorite and crowd pleaser Olexander Spirko (15-0, 8 KOs) overcame resistance of Czech and Slovakian national champion Michal Pechacek (10-1, 4 KOs) to win the belt following an injury, suffered by the Czech in the fourth round.
Undefeated but untested heavyweight Andrey Rudenko (22-0, 14 KOs) spent just 114 second to blow away fat and bulky (well over 300 lbs) Sergey Babich (10-6, 8 KOs) in the very first round.
Valentin Golovko (17-0, 12 KOs) TKO 5 Dmitry Bogachuk (6-12-1, 3 KOs) – on a cut
Vadim Novopashin (2-0) UD 4 Mikhail Lidovskiy (0-6)