By Alexey Sukachev
A year and a half since his first meeting with Brunet Zamora, Denis Shafikov finally proved his superiority over a very good albeit aging fighter. In a tactical and somewhat vicious collision between two boxers, not brawlers, Shafikov landed the harder punches, initiated less clinches and was faster than his 37-year old opponent - and it earned him a hard-fought but well-deserved unanimous decision over twelve rounds at Dynamo Arena in Ufa, Russia.
WBC #8 Shafikov (29-0-1, 17 KOs), 26, was predictably cautious in the first, showing he is still a bit of a slow-starter, his trademark sign and not the most useful one. However, this time he ignited a little bit earlier then in his October 2010 encounter with the Italy-based Cuban and soon took the lead with fast combinations. Zamora was unable to sustain the speed of Shafikov and was taking punishment for about three rounds without throwing much in return. In round four, Shafikov, supported by a partizan Bashkir crowd, was close to scoring a knockdown after three or four left hooks but Zamora withstood the pressure.
As rounds went by, the Cuban slowly adjusted to Shafikov's rhythm and began to time his spurts on the inside and to catch him with well-laced left jabs and right crosses. Body punches were still a damaging weapon of the local southpaw but Zamora did wise to clinch on the inside and to bend Shafikov's head down. The fight turned pretty dull after that as Shafikov was unable to land a clean punch, and Zamora, while scoring to the extent, was turning a well-paced fight into the clinchfest. He got some success in rounds nine and ten, and both fighters did their best to land crisp blows at the end. Shafikov showed more grit and his right hook almost made Zamora dance at the ropes but he survived to take it to the bell.
Scores were: 117-111 (Predrag Aleksic), 117-112 (Andriy Balyasov) and 117-113 (Rajko Djajic). Shafikov retained his EBU light welterweight title for the second time, and Zamora (22-1-2, 10 KOs) suffered his first career loss.
In another meaningful fight, Konstantin Ponomarev, 19, scored a unanimous decision over veteran fight Marat Khuzeev (19-6-1, 7 KOs) over eight rounds. Ponomarev (15-0, 7 KOs) enjoyed a comfortable advantage over his foe but he was unable to score a stoppage like Saul Alvarez did at the very same age three years ago.
Edis Tatli (18-0, 4 KOs), a busy Finnish Albanian, outpointed game Uzbek Sherzodbek Mamajanov (9-9-4, 6 KOs) unanimously over eight.
Georgy Maltabar (8-1, 3 KOs) UD 8 Farhod Oripov (11-9-1, 5 KOs)
Murat Gassiev (5-0, 2 KOs) TKO 1 Teymuraz Kekelidze (16-34-1, 12 KOs). Kekelidze is 47 years old.
Sergey Sergeyev (3-7) UD 4 Utkir Muhammadiev (0-1)
The show was organized by Trinity Promotion (Oleg Bogdanov) alongside P3 Boxing (Pekka Maki) and Ural Boxing Promotions (Evgueny Vainstein and Alexey Vasiliev)