WBO #14 super middleweight Artysh Lopsan capped off his breakthrough year with a spirited win over Ukrainian import Ramil Gadzhiev (13-2-1, 8 KOs) to retain his WBO Oriental 168lb title.
Lopsan, a tall (6'3'') fighter for his weight class, started slowly, which was expected of him. Gadzhiev, 24, on the other hand was very mobile early one, circling out of danger and retaliating with solid power and at a good rate. His punches weren't exceptionally strong but still the Tyva native was uncomfortable during the opening rounds. Being confused by Gadzhiev's perpetuum mobile, Lopsan, 27, chose to endure his opponent's awkwardness and went on with his fight plan.
Final scores were 96-93, 96-93, and 98-91 - all for Srtysh Lopsan, who is now 7-1-1, 4 KOs. It was a wonderful year for Lopsan, who started it as a journeyman but got his magic moment in India when he stopped undefeated local three-time Olympian Vijender Singh in March. he followed it up with a stoppage of another undefeated boxer in Oleg Misiura in September to get his belt.
Slowly, the fight started to get under the Russian's control. Solid jabs to the body and constant pressure helped the cause. Lopsan was too slow to avoid Gadzhiev's counter attacks but he used his underrated timing and also power to keep his opponent strained. Lopsan's pressure started to take toll on Gadzhiev by the mid rounds. Gadzhiev's jab became ineffective, his mobility dropped and his footwork didn't look as brilliant. The Ukrainian continued with his stick-and-move tactics but was forced to commit more and more to grabbing on the inside.
After six rounds, Lopsan had fully relocated himself at a mid range, his preferred distance. Gadzhiev had finally slowed down enough to start eating punches at an increasing rate. He was hit hard several times in the seventh and in the eighth and rocked a bit in the eighth. More bad news for the Ukrainian came from referee Semen Stakheev, who rightfully deducted a point from Gazdhiev in round eight for continuous grabbing and holding. Lopsan finished the fight in style, dominating and outpunching his opponent in rounds nine and ten, although the last punch was landed by the Ukrainian.
Heavyweight amateur star Yaroslav Doronichev debuted as a cruiserweight with a solid unanimous decision over tough countryman Alexander Zubkov (5-4, 5 KOs). Zubkov was on the defensive from the opening bell but still managed to land some sneaky punches on the smaller yet more aggressive Doronichev. His defense wasn't as good but he hadn't been seriously rocked or put on the brink of stoppage by the prospect. It was a unanimous decision over four rounds for Doronichev.
Russian welterweight prospect Sergey Lubkovich continued his rise with a solid win over comebacking Uzbek veteran Sherzodbek Alimjanov, stopping him late into the third round of scheduled eight.
Lubkovich, 26, was fighting for the second time in 2021, while Alimjanov was making a comeback following four years off the ring. Alimjanov, 29, was concentrated solely on survival and did his best to avoid dangers in the first couple of rounds. The Russian took his time, didn't engage too early but punched with solid power.
Early into the third, Alimjanov was able to cut Lubkovich over his left eye in one of the exchanges. Lubkovich answered with aggression, soon connecting with a huge right cross and the with a couple of left hooks, dropping the Uzbek for the count. Sergey Lubkovich is now 14-0, 10 KOs. Alimjanov drops down to 23-6, 14 KOs.
Former amateur standout Georgiy Kushitashvili (1-0, 1 KO) made a smashing professional debut, stopping battle-tested countryman Denis Grachev in four rounds.
Kushitashvili, 26, unleashed his entire arsenal at the 39-years old veteran in the first couple of rounds, rocking tough-as-nails Grachev several times but being unable to put him down. The 2015 and 2018 Russian national amateur champion complained he was feeling signs of fatigue in his corner after the second round.
If there were any signs of fatigue, they weren't seen in the ring. Kushitashvili indeed got a small break in the third, yet delivered his biggest punch of the fight, almost ripping Grachev's head off with a left corker. Grached survived but continued to be dominated badly in the fourth, until referee Victor Panin jumped in at 0:38 to stop the beating. Grached wasn't badly hurt but didn't complain vehemently. He was stopped just for the third time in his career and for the first time since 2014. He is now 20-16-1, with 11 KOs. This was his sixth consecutive loss. Kushitashvili seems to be a very promising prospect.
Super featherweight Aznaur Kalsynov (2-0-3) got a much needed break to his series of three consecutive draws but outfighting rough Russia-based Uzbek Alisher Shodiev (3-2-1, 1 KOs) in a fight, scheduled and fought for six rounds. Kalsynov showed grit and determination to outbox his opponent and got a unanimous decision.
Both Igor Adleiba of Moscow (and originally from Abkhazia) and Asif Kerimov of Kharkiv, Ukraine, delivered top-notch entertainment to the fans, pleasing them with a back-and-forth slugging action in each of six scheduled rounds. Both fighters delivered heat in spurts, changing roles and attitudes frequently. Adleiba, while giving away some territory to his determined foe in the certain exchanges, delivered more punches, specifically with his right uppercut. Kerimov, his nose bleeding, fought it to the end but was losing steam in later rounds.
All three judges had it for Igor Adleiba (12-0-2, 4 KOs) but no scores were announced. Asif Kerimov is down to 6-4-1, 3 KOs, but has nothing to be ashamed of.
In an upset, previously undefeated southpaw welterweight Alan Abaev of Vladikavkaz was outboxed by the Ukraine-born / Moscow-based opponent Artem Pugach (1-1-2) who got his first career win via a unanimous decision over six. Pugach was fighting for the first time in 2021. Abaev is down to 4-1, 2 KOs.