By Alexey Sukachev
It will not be a huge show tonight at Giant Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, but Sergey Mitchnik of the Baltic Box Promotions (with assistance of his Russian counterparts from Pushka Promotions and Ural Boxing Promotions) will definitely make it sound big. The gems of the show will be incrusted in tiny, six-round pieces, as two former world champions Dmitry Kirillov and Vitaliy Tajbert are scheduled to make their ring returns in separate bouts.
Former IBF super flyweight king Kirillov (29-4-1, 9 KOs), now 34, is ready to kick off another title run, and his fight versus Ukrainian journeyman Ruslan Berchuk (5-3, 2 KOs) is considered to be a warm-up after four and a half years in retirement. Kirillov was last seen in the ring in early August 2008, being totally annihilated by Vic Darchinyan.
Unlike Kirillov, WBC #9 super featherweight and former 130lb titleholder Vitaliy Tajbert (23-2, 6 KOs) fought for the last time in November 2012 but he has just three irrelevant fights over two and a half years, so another tune-up – this time against professional loser Alexander Saltykov (8-27-3, 5 KOs) – won’t hurt the German fighter.
Two more stars were previously scheduled to take part in the show, but after all ex-WBA super middleweight beltholder Dmitry Sartison and rising cruiserweight banger Mairis Briedis will not take part in the show. “Mairis was eager to take part in our tourney but he has injured his knee, so he is out for a long period unfortunately”, said Mitchnik, who was once the USSR amateur boxing champion.
Replacing foreign stars will be Russian up-and-coming welterweights Konstantin Ponomarev (19-0, 10 KOs) and David Avanesyan (13-1-1, 6 KOs). Ponomarev, 20, will be tested by a well-travelled Estonian journeyman Sergey Melis (20-12, 7 KOs), while 25-year old Avanesyan will look to stay unbeaten against always-exciting Ukrainian import Bohdan Protsyshyn (7-6, 2 KOs). Both bouts are set for eight rounds.
The card will see five more contests, including those of undefeated Uzbek kayo artist Ulugbek Buribaev (11-0, 10 KOs) and hulking Russian heavyweight giant Evgueny Orlov (12-12-1, 9 KOs) – in separate fights. The show starts at 7 PM LT.