By Alexey Sukachev
Almaty Arena, Almaty, Kazakhstan - Rising light heavyweight powerhouse Ali Akhmedov improved his record to 11-0, with 8 KOs, following the premature surrender of his Azerbaijani opponent Ismat Eynullaev (12-3, 8 KOs) at 2:20 of the second round.
Akhmedov, 22, was one doing all the damage. From round one (from its first minute) he was looking to put Eynullaev to sleep. Azerbaijani was clearly focusing on survival but he couldn't achieve his goal, after Akhmedov hurt him to the body in the second. Eynullaev turned his back on the opponent and chose to retire as is.
There's much talk about middleweight / light middleweight female stars Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer. One who can enter the mix in the foreseeable future is a newly crowned WBC Interim female light middleweight champion Inna Sagaydakovskaya (7-0, 3 KOs), who has blitzed German opponent Jennifer Retzke in just two rounds.
Sagaydakovskaya of Russia, made her debut as a pro at the age of 32 but fastly put her name into contention. This time, she didn't lose any time waiting for Retzke, instead going right at her opponent. Sagaydakovskaya showed her power early on and Retzke, who went the distance against welterweight and P4P "Killer Queen" Cecilia Braekhus in 2014, was wobbling by the end of the first. Inna continued pummeling in the second, finally catching her foe with a huge right counter. Retzke wobbled to the ropes again, looked lost and was defenceless under the power of the Russian blonde, as referee Daniel Van de Wiele stepped in at 1:59 of the round. Retzke is now 16-4-1, 10 KOs.
Kazakhstani top female boxing attraction (and arguably top-3 or top-5 regardless of sex) Firuza Sharipova capped off her second year as a pro with two more belts in a new weight class. Sharipova (now 9-1, 4 KOs) beat Djemilla "The Pitbull" Gontaruk, 23. over ten rounds to acquire the vacant WBC Silver Female and IBO Female super featherweight titles.
Sharipova, an attractive young lady of the mixed origin, was a much better boxer but the stocky Belgian, pudgy and slow, showed tremendous will and desire no matter how many big blows of the Kazakhstani she ate during ten one-sided rounds.
Sharipova, 23, was on the brink of stopping Gontaruk (13-5-1, 2 KOs) several times but the latter survived.
Sharipova is 6-0, 3 KOs, in 2017. She has previously held IBA lightweight title. The Kazakhstani star has enough appeal to become a crossover star in her native land.
Experience prevailed in a sudden title match-up between two undefeated Kazakhstani super bantamweights as Yerzhan Zalilov (10-0-1, 4 KOs) just barely got through powerful slugger Aydin Yelzhanov (4-1, 3 KOs) over ten rounds for a vacant WBC CISBB 122lb belt.
Yelzhanov, 24, is a straightforward brawler, who is always coming with bad intentions. Zalilov, also 24, is a more refined type, a technician who can bang a bit. In this fight, however, banging was Yelzhanov's priority. Zalilov countered well, taking punishment mostly on gloves, slipping punches and landing blows of his own. It's to be noted though that Yelzhanov did hurt Zalilov several times but each and every time Zalilov was able to avoid more punishment and to restore his composure.
Zalilov had some big success in later rounds, specifically in the tenth, when he had almost knocked Yelzhanov down with a counter right hand but the latter remained upright. Final scores were: 96-94, 96-94, and 96-93 - for Yerzhan Zalilov.
Upset-minded Indonesian Hero Tito (23-13-2, 8 KOs), who has previously defeated 26-3-3 compatriot Roy Mukhlis and gave hell to established contenders Jack Asis and Will Tomlinson, tried to repeat his trick against Uzbek Jamshidbek Najmiddinov but this time he wasn't even close. Najmiddinov easily dominated the fight to three identical scorecards: 100-91.
The Ubzek was fighting abroad (although Almaty is fairly close to Jamshid's native city of Andizhan) for the second time and wasn't shy at all. He was light on his feet, easily moved in for a couple of pot-shots, then came back to the distance. Tito was distressed and embarrassed, and found air whenever he tried to land significant blows. On the other hand, Najmiddinov had problems with body shots, landing them way too low sometimes. He scored a virtual knockdown in the seventh but it was ruled out by the referee because the finishing touch was once again below the beltline.
Najmiddinov finished the fight strong and close the show with his share of showboating. The Uzbek previously dropped a decision to world-class operator in Viktor Postol (September 2017 in Kiev) but not before putting the Ukrainian at the brink of a kayo loss after a hard knockdown in round five. Najmiddinov is now 16-1, 10 KOs.
Light welterweights Victor Kotochigov (6-0, 3 KOs) and Rustam Fatkullin (8-2, 3 KOs) engaged into a crowd-pleasing all-action affair, where Kotochigov was just a notch better than his foe. Both fighters were boxing at a rabid pace but it was Kotochigov who showed more composure in the fight. Scores were: 80-72, 80-76, and 79-76 - for Kotochigov.
Belarussian journeyman Igor Karavayev (8-16. 5 KOs) was able to last till the second round against extremely powerful cruiserweight kayo artist Ali Baloyev (3-0, 3 KOs), and it came as a big surprize since Baloyev scored both of his wins in the very first round, and Karavayev was stopped in twelve of his sixteen losses. If there had been any doubt about Baloyev's tremendous power following three uneventful minutes, it was brutally erased fifteen seconds into the second round, when tank-like, Tyson-built Baloyev knocked out Karavayev cold with a single left jab.
It took Ibragim Iskandarov (2-0, 2 KOs) just 38 seconds to completely destroy Tajik debutant Rasul Samadov (0-1) with hard damaging blows.
In a minor upset Saturday night in Almaty, Kazakhstan, local super middleweight Yedil Kozhamberdiev (1-2, 1 KO) saw his momentum vanquished by experienced Belarussian journeyman Ruslan Rodzvicih (15-24, 14 KOs).
Rodzivich was mostly on the defensive, but Kohzamberdiev was too raw and had too many blemishes to get the better of it. The three final scores were identical – 58-57 for Rodzivich. It was Rodzivich’s first win outside of his native land.
Also Saturday night, lanky middleweight Temirlan Raimkulov (2-0-1) dominated another undefeated fighter, China’s Zhaydar Bierlike (2-1, 1 KO), over four rounds.
Raimkulov dropped Bierlike with a grazing liver shot in the fourth, but Bierlike utilized all of his will and character to last until the final bell. Scores were 40-36, 40-35 and 40-34 for Raimkulov.
Ethnic Kazakhstani Daulet Kabi (1-0), of China, debuted with a nice four-round decision over Ukrainian light heavyweight journeyman Sergey Chichikalov (1-5-1). The shorter Kabi was more active and intense in a scheduled four-rounder, and won 40-36, 39-37 and 39-37.