By Alexey Sukachev
Ice Palace, Brovary, Ukraine - 2011 World and 2012 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist Olexander Usyk (2-0, 2 KOs) continued his professional boxing education by scroing his second consecutive stoppage win over an experienced veteran. This time the victim was Colombian hard-hitter Epifanio Mendoza (34-16-1, 30 KOs), who was smoked in four.
Usyk, 26, was hardly tagged once - maybe only once with a left hand bomb of the former world title challenger, and this didn't played any role at all in the contest. The Ukrainian star was hitting the veteran every time he wanted to, easily avoiding Mendoza's wild counter swings, and using his jab and footwork to both keep the Colombian at bay and to corner him. Mendoza was down once int he secong round and once in the third - both times after hard left hands by the southpaw prospect. The Colombian bravely fought on up until the last minute of the fourth round, when another unanswered barrage of Usyk's punches forced referee Victor Fessetchko to step in at approximately 2:11 of the round. Another sound win for Usyk.
When it seemed, he was slowly getting back to the virtual obscurity, upset artist Felix Lora did it again! This time at the Ice Palace "Terminal" in Brovary, the wandering Dominican, who has been fighting in Europe for the last seven years, scored one of his most memorable wins, outpointing local hero Sergey Fedchenko (33-3, 14 KOs) over twelve heated rounds to acquire WBO #2's WBO European light welterweight title.
Fedchenko, 32, started fast, using his pin-point accuracy and boxing skills to score points against the late sub, who had come in several days before the fight to replace Spain-based Colombian Ignacio "Nacho" Mendoza. Fedchenko looked sharp and confident but it all changed midst into the second after a cracking right cross to his chin, which sent the Ukrainian down in pain. Fedchenko grabbed Lora's legs to wrestle him down while he was being floored. Fedchenko was never the same afterwards but didn't look too bad either.
Lora took the third round on the strength of the second, showing grit and determination. Fedchenko utilized his boxing skills to strike back in the fourth but Lora looked superior in the fifth, once again troubling the Ukrainian mightily with his right hands in close quarters. Fedchenko has finally found his composure in the sixth round and continued to outbox his Latino opponent for the next three rounds. Fedchenko was circling around Lora but his punch rate was low. However, he was able to open a cut over Lora's right eye, despite getting bloody himself as well.
In the ninth, Lora has caught his second win and rocked Fedchenko several times during the last minute of the stanza. Fedchenko and Lora boxed on even terms in rounds ten and eleven but the Dominican came big in the twelfth, being not only the aggressor but also a smarter fighter. At the end, Vladimir Nazarov of Russia had the fight unrealistically: 119-112 - for Fedchenko. He was overruled by Zoltan Enyedi (113-114) of Hungary and the third judge, who had it 112-114 - for Lora. BoxingScene had it 114-113 - for Fedchenko, but both Lora-favoring scores can be seen as legitimate.
Lora was coming off a one-sided loss to Edis Tatli in February. He had previously scored upsets over previously undefeated Poles Krzysztof Szot and Krzysztof Cieslak (the latter was defeated twice), Hovhannes Zhamkochyan and 15-0 Italian Massilimiano Ballisai. He has much to be proud of.
Rising light welterweight prospect Mishiko Beselia (5-0, 2 KOs) looked like a future star in his convincing six-round unanimous decision over Andrey Stolyarchuk (11-21-2, 2 KOs) of Belarus. Beselia threw and (often) landed multiple combinations to the head and body of the Belarussian. Stolyarchuk was game and brave, and also elusive, but Beselia finally caught him in the sixth and sent down hard to punctuate his clear victory. Scores were 60-53 and 59-54 (twice) - for the young Ukrainian.
In a heavyweight crossroads fight between young Russian gun Vladimir Tereshkin and his veteran counterpart Alexey Mazikin of Ukraine, youth was in the lead from the starters but it was age that came strong down the stretch. Still, the younger Russian cruised to a close eight-round unanimous decision.
Tereshkin was better in the first, circling around much heavier former two-time Olympian for Ukraine. Mazikin was slow and couldn't pick his punches together. The pattern continued further on in the second stanza. What was even worse, his arguably granite chin let him down not once but thrice during the next couple of rounds. Mazikin (14-10-2, 4 KOs) went down once in the third and twice in the fourth - all times after hard left hands to the liver section. Mazikin didn't look stunned or troubled at any moment, despite going down time and again.
His self-confidence was boosted even more in the fifth, when he has finally started to land something onto the Russian. Tereshkin started to lose energy and looked gassed in the sixth. Both combatants battled hard in the first half of the seventh, then the Russian chose to dance his way out of the fight. He had a right to do so though, and it was confirmed by the judges' scorecards: 77-73 (twice) and 77-72 - for Vladimir Tereshkin, who is now 18-0-1, with 8 KOs.
In a shocker, In a shocker, Victor Plotnikov (30-2, 14 KOs) emerged as a beast and continued so against previously undefeated fellow coutnryman Valery Brazhnik (30-1-1, 17 KOs), deleting him in just 122 seconds. Plotnikov, 36, immediately jumped upon Brazhnik, 34, throwing mutliple punches without any breaks at all. He lacked precision, while his punches lacked power, but he was consistent, and Brazhnik felt himself very uncomfortable under light but non-stop fire. Trying to win an extra second, Brazhnik spit out his mouthpiece but it didn't help for long. Plotnikov continued his crazy barrage, pinned Brazhnik to the ropes and landed several blows to the head of his opponent. Brazhnik wasn't answering but was standing firm, so that the stoppage looked premature. Yet, it was what it was, and it was the first career loss for a formerly world-ranked veteran.
Reigning European middleweight champion Max "Tiger" Bursak scored his second consecutive tune-up win, outpointing tough-as-usual Georgian import Gary Abajian (20-16-1, 6 KOs) over eight one-sided rounds. WBO/WBA #5, WBC #9 and IBF #12 160lber easily controlled the action, being both aggressive and sharp. Right uppercut was a major weapon for the 29-year old Ukrainian, and his reflexes allowed him to prevent Abajian from counterpunching. The Georgian took the punch well and was never in danger of going down or out. At the end, all three judges saw it identically for the Tiger: 80-72 - on all the judges' scorecards. Bursak is now 29-1-1, with 12 KOs. He is 4-0, 1 KO, this year.
Tags: Maksym Bursak , Sergey Fedchenko , Oleksandr Usyk