By Alexey Sukachev (at ringside)
To beat an undefeated fighter is always a pleasure for his opponent. To beat him for the first time, when you have zero in the "L" column yourself, is twice as pleasing and prestigious. Given that, comebacking former Uzbek Olympian Sherzod Husanov (now 17-0-1, 8 KOs) has every right to celebrate following his hard-fought victory over previously unbeaten Estonian Pavel Semjonov (8-1-1, 4 KOs), which became his second time in a row that he accomplished this task - since he had previously defeated 6-0 Maxim Chemezov (via KO 3).
However, Husanov, who turned 33 a couple of weeks ago, should be critical of his current shape, as he has yet to dig his best version out, if he targets bigger and tougher challengers in his weight class.
2004 Athens Olympian for Uzbekistan (lost to the two-time Olympic gold medalist Oleg Saitov in a quarterfinal) turned pro in 2007 and racked up a nice pile of wins, making his American debut in the ESPN-televised afair against Jhon Berrio in June 2010. Unfortunately, the Uzbek light middleweight was forced into a long lay-off due to various family and manangement issues before coming back in December 2012 against Chemezov. For Semjonov, 27, the Husanov fight was his first out of the homeland.
Both fighters started cautiously, but shorter and stockier Semjonov soon started to open up. He tried to bully the Uzbek, but even a rusty version of Husanov was enough to smother his aggression and outbox him with the potent jab. Husenov then started kicking in, using the machine-gun series against ocassional heavy blows of Semjonov. Both combatants used body shots but Sherzod, now representing Nizhny Tagil, Russia, was much more consistent and persistent. He was also close to knocking Semjonov down in the later rounds but the Estonian survived the onslaught only to laught at his determined opponent.
After eight rounds of otherwise tactical fight, all three judges had it for Husanov: 80-72, 80-74 and 78-74. BoxingScene is in agreement with the latter score. Husanov is scheduled to come back on March 9 in Hamburg against young Albanian Fatjon Murati (13-2-2, 3 KOs) in a ten-rounder
In his fourth and by far the most scandalous fight, Sergey "Parson" Akimov (0-4), a fighting "batiushka" (which means "parson" in Russian), who combines his divine service with prizefighting, was on the verge of getting his first win. In fact, he was announced as the victor, but that was later reversed as a mistake, after the corner of his opponent Grigoriy Fedorov (4-1-1) had protested the decision hotly. It was then discovered that one of the judges has confused the blue corner for the red one. The final verdict was a split decision for Fedorov, and scores were: 59-56, 58-57 - for Grigoriy, and 54-60 - for Sergey.
Meanwhile, a fight itself, which was a boring affair between two unpolished fighters (with Fedorov getting and edge) turned into a war, when Father Sergiy (his Christian name), supported by the pro-Orthodox local crowd, threw his Christian meekness out of the window to collide with Fedorov in a frenetic fashion, which put everyone in attendance on its feet. BoxingScene had it 58-56 - also for Fedorov, while the combined efforts of the BoxingScene and local community helped to discover the final truth.
Rising light heavyweight Ilshat "Obama" Khusnulgatin was neither a president nor a general of the ring against rugged veteran Fuad Muradov, but cruised to a relatively easy win nevertheless.
All rounds were quite the same and not particularly eventful. Khusnulgatin did too many unnecessary moves, yet Muradov was unable to capitalize. Late into the sixth and final round, he quit citing a hand injury, thus making Khusnulgatin (8-0, 4 KOs) a lucky kayo winner. "I was fighting my best fight despite suffering a very painful injury. In fact I came here having one. Yet, I'm sure Ilshat, a good buddy of mine, would have defeated me either way", revealed classy Muradov (1-8-1) to the audience after the fight.
19-year old rising light welterweight Aik Shakhnazarian (4-0, 1 KO) got his first stoppage win after his Tajik opponen Parviz Muraliev (0-1), who was making his pro debut, retired on his stool after the third.
The show was promoted by Kirill Pchelnikov in Troitsk, a satellite city of Moscow, known for its strong traditions in high energy physics, Non-surprisingly, the venue was name "Quant".