By Alexey Sukachev
Luzhniki, Moscow, Russia - WBA #5 Russian heavweight powerhouse Alexander Povetkin (27-1, 19 KOs) made a stellar comeback to the ring - for the first time since his loss to Wladimir Klitschko - and stopped rugged WBC #7 contender Manuel Charr in seven to acquire a vacant WBC International title.
Fighters spent little time finding weaknesses of each other. Charr seemingly could not miss with his jab but was hit time and time again with Povetkin's uppercut.
The first was even. Povetkin rocked Charr twice in the second and was also rocked once. Charr got better with his jab in the third, and Povetkin took the fourth on power punching. Scores were 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37 - after the fourth.
Povetkin got bigger in the fifth round, landing major left hooks, uppercuts and right hands. He continued to dominate in the sixth despite problems with Charr's jab. Finally, early into the seventh, Poverkin caught Charr with a sensational right-left-right combo to send Charr down on his back and put an ending stamp to the fight. Referee Massimo Barrovecchio didn't even bother to count.
Official time of stoppage was 1:09. Charr is now 26-2, 15 KOs.
WBC #1 and IBF #6 ranked cruiserweight Rakhim Chakhkiev (19-1, 15 KOs) showed only glimpses of his true potential in a workmanlike unanimous decision win over tough Colombian late sub Santander Silgado (25-2, 20 KOs). The scores were 118-110, 117-111 and 117-112.
WBA #4 lightweight Eduard Troyanovskiy (18-0, 15 KOs) failed to continue his impressive series of second-round stoppages (five in a row), but celebrated his 34th birthday positively anyway, halting overmatched Belorussian Anton Bekish (5-11-1, 4 KOs) after 48 seconds of round four.
Bekish was wilting under the Russian's power in the first couple of rounds, was dropped in the third and finished off (for the first time in his career not on cuts) in the fourth with a wicked left hand.
In a ten-round non-title welterweight attraction, Russian prospect Aslanbek Kozaev (26-1-1, 13 KOs) erased bad memories of his recent loss to Ray Robinson with a hard-fought win over tough Ukrainian import Igor Faniyan (14-8-2, 7 KOs).
No scores were announced but it was a unanimous decision over ten rounds. Boxingscene had it 97-93 - for Kozaev.
Recent debutant Sergey Lipinets (2-0, 1 KO) stopped Dzhemil Cosovic (3-2-1) at 1:51 of the fourth after two hard body punches. Lipinets dominated the fight all the way before that.
Featherweight Evgueny Smirnov (2-0, 1 KO) got the better of his Serbian opponent Milan Savic (1-2-1) on points over six.