By Alexey Sukachev
A familiar figure is back into the title mix after several years of obscurity, as former world title challenger and former two-time, two-division (featherweight and lightweight) IBO champion Daud "Cino" Yordan (38-3, 26 KOs) completely destroyed Russian lightweight champion Pavel Malikov with a devastating body shot to acquire the WBO I|C lightweight belt and, more importantly, a right to face the WBA 135lb champion, as the fight was billed the WBA lightweight title eliminator.
Malikov, 32, who lost several years of being in the ring due to legal issues, started aggressively but ran into a bigger and more versatile fighter in Yordan, even though the 30-year old Indonesian began his career as a featherweight. Malikov landed some clean shots but Yordan didn't wait to land his portion of leather in return. The fight was ugly and heated at times, with both boxers being emotionally pumped to get an important win.
Malikov had a problem with gaps in his activity, stating idle in Yordan's range of fire for too long and allowing him to land some flush bombs. On the other hand he zealously battled back every time he was hit. Yet, not all of his counter-offence reached the target. The Russian also was too annoyed by the Cino. In round six, he tripped Yordan while in clinch to be deducted a point from referee Oliver Brien from Germany. By that time Yordan was cut over his left eye but paid little-to-zero attention to the cut.
In round seven, Malikov started to visibly fade under power of the Indonesian. Finally, Yordan landed some big shots, putting Malikov almost down as he was saved by the ropes. Wrongfully, the referee didn't issue a count in what was a legitimate knockdown.
There was no knockdown but there was a knock on Malikov's door. He pretended that he couldn't hear it but he was wrong in doing so. In the eighth, both fighters engaged into a rumble but it was Yordan, who was dealing damage. He landed a monstrous right hook right under the ribs, and a punctuating left bomb onto Malikov, who was already falling with a bitter grimace of pain. Several minutes after he was still surrounded by paramedics, unable to get up as Yordan was quietly celebrating one of his finest wins.
Official time of stoppage was 1:54 of the eighth round. WBO #6, IBF #8, and WBA #13 Malikov drops down to 13-1, 5 KOs, suffering his first career loss. WBA #6 Yordan, who hasn't been seen in the ring for over a year, scored his eighth consecutive win since being stopped in twelve by Simphiwe Vetyeka five years ago. Yordan has lost before to record-breaking countryman Chris John in April 2011 and to Celestino Caballero in April 2010. He is also known for a No-Contest against then IBF featherweight champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero in a non-title affair in February 2009.
Merely a year since his pro debut, lightweight Zaur Abdullaev (9-0, 6 KOs) produced another spirited performance to get a semi-major title and to crack into the WBC ranks with a narrow decision over rugged Colombian Deiner Berrio (20-2-1, 11 KOs) for a vacant WBC Silver lightweight title.
Abdullaev, a lanky slugger from the city of Ekaterinburg, was well matched with a familiar figure in Berrio. The Columbian was fighting in Russia for the third consecutive time. Berrio outpointed veteran Rustam Nugaev in May 2017, then dropped a split decision to Pavel Malikov in December 2017.
Both fighters rumbled vehemently for entire twelve rounds but Abdullaev, 24, was just a notch more consistent in doing so. Berrio, 27, was fighting too much behind a shell-like guard, which didn't allow him to match Abdullaev's activity. Yet he was consistent enough to land hard, damaging uppercuts. Abdullaev closed the show well, throwing all that he possessed at Berrio, who was reduced to defense more than offense.
After twelve hard-fought rounds, two judges preferred Abdullaev with narrow scores 115-113, while the third one had it wider at 117-111. BoxingScene was in between with 116-112 scorecard. Abdullaev (7-0 in 2017 and 1-0 in 2018) will take a break, while Berrio is 0-2 in his recent contests.
WBO #7 ranked super featherweight Mikhail Alexeev (12-0, 4 KOs), who is best known for his win over Filipino hopeful Romero Duno from a couple of years ago, stayed busy with a hard-fought win over tough Argentinean import Sergio Mauricio Gil (19-11-2, 13 KOs). The scores were: 77-75, 78-74 and 78-74 - for Alexeev.
The 22-year old Russian was in attack mode during the fight but Gil gave him fits by willingly engaging in two-way action. Alexeev was cut over his left eyebrow in round three, and Gil was also cut by the end of the sixth. The fight was even after a mid-point but Alexeev thrusted during the second half to get a hard-fought but well-earned unanimous decision. BoxingScene had it 78-75 - for the Russian.
WBA #7 and IBF #8 rated light middleweight Magomed Kurbanov (14-0, 11 KOs) got a workmanlike stoppage of Georgian import Nikoloz Gviniashvili (19-11-4, 15 KOs) in a tune-up fight. Kurbanov, 22, was formerly rated #1 by the WBO.
Kurbanov did a better work throughout a fight but he wasn't in hurry to finish a granite-chinned Georgian journeyman. Instead he applied smart pressure, making Gviniashvili uncomfortable, forcing him to lose his confidence and stamina. Both fighters were never in danger of getting dropped or rocked but Kurbanov's pressure was overwhelming. Being mentally dominated and with next-to-zero chances of turning back the flow of the fight, Gviniashvili retired on his stool after seven complete rounds. He was stopped just once before that.
In a battle of two undefeated junior lightweights, Kyrgyz Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (11-0, 5 KOs) got a breakthrough decision win over Venezuelan import Leonardo "Petare" Padilla (16-1, 12 KOs) for a vacant WBA Asia 130lb title - albeit in a bit of a controversial fashion.
It was a match-up of a pressure fighter with classic boxing skills against a counter-intuitive awkward hitter, Sulaymanbek Uulu being the former and Padilla - the latter. The Kyrgyz boxer was trying to corner Padilla, while the Venezuelan used liquid footwork and upper body movement to avoid being hit while throwing big punches from different angles. Sulaymanbek uulu threw many more punches but missed much. Padilla landed some great shots - specifically uppercuts - but was applying too much dirty tactics.
Early into the fifth, Padilla landed a huge right hand, which had Sulaymanbek Uulu down briefly. The Kyrgyz got back with zeal but Padilla tied him up well not to eat too many shots. Excessive holding resulted in Padilla being deducted a point in round seven by referee Semen Stakheev. Both boxers fought it to the end, with the local boxer getting a slight advantage.
At the end, all three judges had it for Akzhol Sulaymanbek Uulu: rightful 95-93, too wide 96-92 and inappropriate 97-91. BoxingScene had it 94-94 - a draw.
In an all-Russian heavyweight cross-roader Evgueny Romanov (9-0, 6 KOs) of Volgograd dispatched seasoned Saint Petersburgveteran Denis Bakhtov (39-13, 26 KOs) in less than a round. Time was 2:15 of the first.
Romanov wobbled Bakhtov with a short right hand at the ropes, forcing referee Irakly Malazonia to issue a standing eight. Then he landed a fury of shots with a solid left hook at the end, which put Bakhtov on the tip of his pants once again. Finally, Romanov drove Bakhtov to the ropes and left him there defenseless, forcing Malazonia to stop action.
Romanov is best known for his hard kayo win over reigning WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder ten years ago, when both fighters were amateurs.
Uzbek Ravshanbek Umurzakov (3-0, 3 KOs) continued his impressive run with the fourth-round stoppage of much more experienced Georgian Merab Turkadze (5-1, 2 KOs), who represented his country at 2012 London Olympics (where he lost in the first round).
Umurzakov used constant pressure, superior stamina and reach advantage to hit Turkadze and to not get hit in return. Turkadze's power supply got thinner with each fought round. He was barely standing on his own legs after three complete rounds, and finally went down more from exhaustion than from any shots landed by the Uzbek. Turkadze got up and even survived till the bell but was in no position to continue after four complete rounds.
Former WBC minor titlist Murad Arslanov (8-4, 4 KOs) continued his downward spiral, suffering his fourth consecutive loss - this time via a first-round TKO. Arslanov fell a victim to Uzbek import Sardor Muzafarrov (2-1, 2 KOs). The Uzbek boxer landed a perfect right hand / left hook / right cross combo, which sent Arslanov down hard at the end of the first. The Russian fighter beat the count but was too dazed to continue, as the fight was stopped at 2:45 of the first.
Young flyweight gun Mekhdi Abdurashedov (2-0, 1 KOs) showed impressive skills and power in a stoppage win over experienced Indonesian kayo artist Iwan Zoda (14-4-1, 13 KOs), who had some solid wins in the past, including TKO 12 win over the 13-0 Thai fighter in Thailand. Abdurashedov, 19, had been easily outboxing Zoda, 21, for the first two and a half rounds, before connecting with a major right uppercut to the solar plexus, which had Zoda down and out at 1:47 of the third.
Comebacking Russian welterweight Viskhan Murzabekov (17-3, 11 KOs) made easy work of previously once-beaten Georgian Bagrat Berkatsashvili (9-2, 4 KOs), stopping him in the fourth round of the scheduled eight.
Murzabekov, 27, pressed action against Bagrat, 19, and finally dropped him with a left hook in the corner at the end of the second round. Hard pummeling continued into the third, as Berkatsashvili, his nose bleeding, went down after the head punch. The Georgian bravely fought back in the third and in the fourth but went down twice more after right hands to the temple. The fight was stopped at 0:59 after the last knockdown. Berkatsashvili was fighting outside of his native Georgia for the very first time.