By Jake Donovan
Denis Lebedev hadn't fought in more than a year, and hadn't won a fight in nearly two years. All of that built-up frustration was taken out on Poland's Pawel Kolodziej, whom the defending cruiserweight titlist knocked out in two rounds Saturday evening in Moscow, Russia.
The bout marked the first piece of ring action for Lebedev since a shocking 11th round knockout to Guillermo Jones last May. The result was tainted by Jones testing positive for a banned substance, an occurrence that resurfaced prior to their scheduled rematch this past May. Because Jones' sample showed dirty prior to the fight, their sequel was canceled barely a couple of hours before they were due to enter the ring.
All told, Lebedev was forced to sit on that loss for 16 months before Saturday's showdown, with the only consolation that he was able to retain his alphabet belt through the turmoil. The Russian southpaw remains in possession of the strap, while snatching Kolodziej's "0" in the process.
The bout began slow, with both fighters hesitant to let their hands go. Barely 40 punches were thrown between them in the opening round, as Lebedev measured up his challenger, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.
He found it in a big way late in round two. The moment a clean left hand found its way to Kolodziej's chin, the fight was over. A beauty of a left hand shot sent the unbeaten Pole straight to the canvas, two minutes into round two. Referee Guillermo Perez gave Kolodziej every chance to recover and prove ready to continue, but did not like the reaction produced and stopped the contest without another punch thrown.
The unofficial time was 2:18 of round two.
Lebedev improves to 26-2 (20KOs) with the win, his first since a 4th round stoppage of Santanger Silgado, yet another unbeaten challenger whom he stopped back in their Dec. '12 title fight.
Kolodziej suffers his first loss, falling to 33-1 (18KOs) after his first title challenge.
The bout aired live on Integrated Sports PPV in the United States, though with the opening bell not coming until about an hour into the show.
The least significant of the three cruiserweight bouts on the show saw Andrey Knyazev pick up his third straight after scoring a 4th round stoppage of Georgian boxer Shalva Jomardashvili. Knyazev (11-1, 6KOs) applied pressure before forcing Jomardashvili (37-9-2, 28KOs) to quit. The official time was 1:10 of round four.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America . Twitter: @JakeNDaBox