By Alexey Sukachev
Moscow, Russia - In a battle of two freakishly hard-hitting junior welterweights, Eduard "Troya" Troyanovskiy survived a huge scare in round one of a scheduled twelve-rounder to come back extremely strong in the second round and to stop equally serious puncher Keita Obara of Japan. Troyanovskiy retained his IBF and IBO 140lb titles.
Troyanovskiy, 36 and also known as The Eagle, started his career in Germany at the solid age of 29. He relocated to his Fatherland four years ago and was unstoppable ever since. Against Obara he was making the second defense of his IBF light welterweight title and the third defense of his IBO belt. Obara, 29 and rated #3 by the IBF, had a bit less spectacular record though fifteen of his wins were by way of knockout, He earned his position of a top-rated challenger by getting a draw against Walter Castillo in November 2015.
One cannot blink watching The Eagle fight, and this one was no exception. Troyanovskiy, a straight-out heavy slugger, jumped out of his corner and immediately got to work. Obara was in defensive mode but still winged freely. The Russian, a bit more polished and reserved - even on the offensive - landed harder and cleaner shots, tagging Ibara a couple of times. However, the Japanese contender, who had started his pro career with a kayo loss to go 16-0-1 after that, landed the best punch of the round - a mighty right hand - that instantly put the Russian on a queer street. Troya was hurt but did enough to hear the bell.
The nearing end was physically felt by the crowd. Early into the second, Troyanovskiy launched his second offensive. His first attempts were unsuccessful but then he landed a heavy blow, a right hand, not clearly seen by the spectators, which rocked Obara on a delay. The Japanese went wobbly and Troyanovskiy immediately followed him. Several punches after that the Russian pinned wobbly Obara to the ropes, then landed a major right hand on his defenseless opponent... and down went Obara through the ropes and onto the judge's table and hardware. The fall was arguably a reminiscent of the memorable knockout in the first Oleg Maskaev vs. Hasim Rahman fight.
Unlike Rahman, Obara found something in him to get himself up and to come back to the ring within 20 seconds. He was allowed to continue, but the end was already here as Troyanovskiy jumped in to land several more damaging blows before referee Michael Ortega forced him out to save a hapless Obara from more punishment.
TBRB #7 Eduard Troyanovskiy improves his record to 25-0, 22 KOs, to enter a club of the most hard-hitting champions. He has also extended his kayo series to fifteen with this win. Obara, who has burst into tears, drops down to 16-2-1, with 15 KOs.
IBF #15 cruiserweight Rakhim Chakhkiev was in bad need of a blowout after his latest setbacks, culminating in a devastating loss to Ola Afolabi in Kazan. The Machine has got one, knocking out incapable Argentinean Alejandro Emilio Valori (21-11, 15 KOs) early into the second round. Even in this fight Chakhkiev (now 26-2, 19 KOs) was hit clearly by some punches of Valori but his level was totally different to that of the Argentinean. Valori was pushed down in the first, and knocked out after a left hook to the solar plexus in round two.
It took former kickboxing world champion and now cruiserweight prospect Alexey Papin (4-0, 3 KOs) exactly 70 seconds to take out 34-year old Uruguayan veteran Jorge Rogriguez Olvera, known as La Perla Negra, in the very first round. Olvera, usually a durable opponent, was down twice - once after a push, and the second time after a picturesque right hand to the chin that had him down. He got up - just to see a flying towel from one of his cornermen. Olver has never been stopped in the opener before. He is 28-14, 14 KOs, after this loss.
Hard-hitting Russian welterweight Sergey Lubkovich (3-0, 2 KOs) was forced to go the distance for the first time in his career, getting past awkward Argentinean journeyman Luis Gaston Montiel (8-5). Lubkovich was clearly superior to his foe but failed to drop him or even to seriously hurt him, getting a unanimous decision over eight rounds.