By Alexey Sukachev and Anton Gorunov
WBO #4 ranked lightweight Denis Berinchik, a former teammate of Oleksander Usyk, Oleksander Gvozdyk and Vasyl Lomachenko, continued his rise up in ranks with the third consecutive defense of his WBO International title – on Saturday night at the Terminal Ice Palace in Brovary, Kiev, Ukraine.
Berinchik, 2011 world championship and 2012 London Olympics silver medalist, faced a newcomer to his weight class in Argentinean Hector Edgardo Sarmiento, who has previously competed mostly at featherweight.
Sarmiento, despite an original deficit in weight used his reach advantage and quick movement to give the Ukrainian fits in the opening rounds. Berinchik was effective on the inside, getting edges in close quarter exchanges, but shootouts were rare, and Berinchik’s advantage wasn’t overwhelming.
Berinchik rocked Sarmiento with a crushing right cross to the nose at the end of the eighth, but failed to finish off his opponent. Meanwhile, the Argentinean used his own counter-punches to stun the favorite in round eleven.
All in all, it was a victorious albeit not a dominant performance for the 31-year old Ukrainian, who improves his record to 13-0, 7 KOs. Sarmiento drops down to 21-2, 14 KOs. Scores were: 118-110, 117-111, 117-112 – for Berinchik, who got his victory in front of several local celebrities, including Usyk, Lomachenko, James Ali Bashir and former world champions Victor Postol, Wladimir Sidorenko and Vyacheslav Senchenko. K2 Ukraine promoted this event.
In a battle of unbeaten middleweight, much more experienced 2016 Rio Olympian Dmytro Mitrofanov outworked and outboxed young Uzbek import Ulugbek Sobirov (9-1, 5 KOs), who looked lost during the first half of an eight-rounder but manned himself up to give some tough moments to the Ukrainian in later rounds. Mitrofanov got a unanimous decision and moved onto a new record of 8-0-1, 5 KOs.
Long-time fringe middleweight and super middleweight contender Maxim “The Tiger” Bursak looked good in outboxing Russian journeyman Maxim Smirnov (8-6-3, 4 KOs) over eight rounds with a unanimous decision. Smirnov was fighting just for the fourth time in nine years. Bursak (36-6-2, 16 KOs), 35, was coming off a spirited split decision loss to former champion David Lemieux in December 2019.
Former world-ranked light welterweight Mishiko Beselia (20-1, 14 KOs) moved up two weight classes and effectively dominated journeyman Olexander Rubchev (4-6-1, 1 KO) over four. There were no knockdowns, but Rubchev was beaten to the punch, had his nose busted and finally retired on his stool during the break between rounds four and five.