By Alexey Sukachev
Alexander Kalinkin is undeniably the face refereeing in Russian prizefighting. Having handled and also judged hundreds of fights across Eastern Europe, the former four-time USSR junior and youth national champion, now age 69, has enough experience to determine certain details almost instantly.
On Thursday, September 24, Kalinkin was the third man in the ring during the Rakhim Chakhkiev vs. Hamilton Ventura eight-round clash. In what was initially thought to be an easy night for the TBRB #8 (at the time – and now #6) rated cruiserweight turned into a nightmare of sorts. Down twice, Chakhkiev scored a knockdown himself to edge Ventura just barely. During the fight he also suffered a bad cut over his left eyebrow.
Meanwhile, Chakhkiev's next bout – and probably a defense of the IBO title he owns - is scheduled against dangerous former titlist Ola Afolabi – and that bout is just a month away. Alexander Kolesnikov of Akboxing.ru talked to Kalinkin to get his thoughts on the contest.
“I think [he] won’t recover for Afolabi in time. This cut is serious. I mean that’s the most important fact that it’s serious. He should take his time for recovery, to heal this cut. And he also should train and prepare for his next fight, and anything can happen during this period”, said Kalinkin.
“I just cannot understand why this bout [with Ventura] had taken place. What for? I can’t figure it out… To earn some money? That was not the case here. Specifically given the fact that they knew Ventura is no gimme, it's not going to be a sparring session – that’s for sure. You cannot expect an easy night from a fighter like this one. Brazilian fighters are now different from what they were a decade ago, when one couldn’t stop scoffing at them”.
“The cut wasn’t a result of a punch. Rakhim jumped in but Ventura chose not to avoid so they collided head-to-head resulting in an absolutely accidental clash of heads."