By Andrey Novak (ringside), Dmitry Mikhalchuk and Alexey Sukachev
K2 Promotions Ukraine, a national boxing brand of the Klitschko brothers, continued its local activities on Saturday night by arranging it's last annual show at the Kiev Palace of Sports. WBO #2 middleweight Maxim Bursak headlined the show, while a number of (local) familiar names participated in the undercard.
WBO #2 Maxim "Tiger" Bursak (24-0-1, 10 KOs) easily retained his WBO I/C middleweight title with a perfect third-round stoppage of unworthy Ghanaian challenger Laatekwei Hammond (18-6, 11 KOs). Bursak, 27, came out as strong as ever with his usual aggressiveness and ferocity. Hammond went down in the first round after a hard half-jab-half-hook by the Ukrainian. He was pounded bitterly in the next round until a straight right hand put him down near the ropes for the second time. Finally, in the third, Bursak started to land his huge right bombs at will, and soon Hammond went down for the third and final time. Seeing enough referee Yuri Koptsev waved the fight off at approximately 1:22 of the stanza.
According to some sources, Bursak will now be awarded with a mandatory shot at middleweight titlist Dmitry Pirog. Though Bursak seems to be a viable challenger for the Russian champion, his status looks completely bogus after such an easy "eliminator". Hammond, who started as a bantamweight, was ranked #15 by the WBO and #461 by BoxRec. To add more confusion, he weighed-in at a horrible 174 pounds, which is 14 pounds above the middleweight limit and 15 pounds heavier than Bursak. However, even a huge weight advantage did little for him as Hammond wasn't in the fight at any point.
Experienced welterweight Victor Plotnikov (27-1, 13 KOs) halted his Georgian opponent Mikheil Khutsishvili (19-16-3, 5 KOs) with just fifteen seconds remaining in the eighth round. Plotnikov easily won every round with his sharp jab and strong right hands while taking little punishment from the free-swinging Khutsishvili. The Georgian fighter suffered nasal bleeding, which got worse with each fought round. The bout was stopped after Khutsishvili ate too many punches while firing only sporadically in return.
The second minor upset occured in a battle between undefeated prospect Kostya Rovenskiy (17-0-2, 4 KOs) and durable Uzbek Fayzullo Akhmedov (10-10-1, 5 KOs). Rovenskiy was wobbling for the first two rounds but came back strong at the end of the fight. Scores were 77-76 (Rovenskiy) and 76-76 (twice). Kostya suffered his second draw in a row.
Cruiserweight Vitaly Nevesioliy (12-0, 7 KOs) continued his recent streak of stoppages with the effective destruction of Georgian Paata Berikashvili (11-13-1, 5 KOs). Berikashvili was knocked down with an overhand right in the first and had been suffering a huge amount of damage throughout all the rounds. Finally, in the sixth Berikashvili ate more leather before signalizing his with his right hand that he wasn't ok. Soon thereafter a ringside physician halted the contest for good. Official time of stoppage is 2:45.
In a double upset, Ukrainian upset specialist Olexander Cherviak (9-2-1, 2 KOs), who is best known for scoring two sensational wins over fellow compatriot Vitaly Rusal, was held to a draw by unheralded Georgian light heavyweight George Tevdorashvili (9-6-3) in a dirty clinchfest. Tevdorashvili was deducted a point for holding in the seventh. Scores were: 77-74 (Cherviak), 74-79 (Tevdorashvili) and 77-77.
In a competitive shootout with plenty of chances from both sides, local-based Mamed Yadgarov (16-6-1, 10 KOs) forced Uzbek Olim Nazarov (5-1, 3 KOs) to feel a touch of bitterness in his first defeat. It was a unanimous decision over six rounds but no scores were declared.
Previously ranked light middleweight Dmitry Nikulin (23-1, 8 KOs) pounded out a convincing six-round decision over tough-as-nails professional loser Mykola Korenev (2-12). No scores were announced.