It was just a year and a half ago when people booed anxiously, angered, even bewildered by what was thought as one of the year worst decisions. Even Fedor Chudinov himself was in awe, when a split decision “win” in his favour was announced after twelve rounds of taking a beating at the hands of Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi.
Fast forward to December the 13th (on Friday no less), and WBA #1 ranked Chudinov caps off a huge year (3-0, 3 KOs) with arguably his finest career performance. The victim - by way of a landslide decision - was world champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.
It was certainly a cross-roader for the careers of both combatants, who coming in were affected by recent or not-so-recent setbacks. Chudinov, however, had an edge on paper being rated #6 by both WBC and IBF, and #11 by the WBO. N’Jikam, who has seen his better days at middleweight, was unrated after a stoppage loss to Callum Smith in June. Unanswered was the question about Chudinov better days.
The answer was given clear but with some future prospects.
Chudinov definitely showed vast improvement under the tutelage of Vitaliy Slanov, who previously developed a star in Murat Gassiev. Meanwhile, the fight was brought to Vladikavkaz, Slanov’s hometown, by the Patriot Boxing Promotions, backed up by the ever-flamboyant Vladimir Hryunov.
The Russian was in firm control from the first. He showed subtle feints and moves to get closer to his opponent but at the same time standing out of the harm’s way. N’Jikam tried to utilize lateral movement but seemingly slow Chudinov was found to be brutally effective, and his timing was also alright.
N’Jikam, 35, tried to connect with frequent combos but they were unable to move Chudinov, 32, an inch back. Oppositely, the Russian’s haymakers shook the French Cameroonian's head each time they landed (i.e. often).
The pressure was overwhelming, and N’Jikam was unsteady on his legs ever since the seventh. He tried hard though, and his balance was fine enough to let him down - both literally and figuratively.
Nevertheless, N’Jikam was getting punished to the point, when a corner stoppage seemed all but justified. And Chudinov, in great physical shape, wasn’t tired of dealing more leather to his wilting counterpart.
The final bell was salvation for the Frenchman. Scores weren’t as delightful though: 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109 - for the resurgent Chudinov, who captured the WBA Gold 168lb title in process.
So was it the best of Chudinov? It might be but who knows. Vladimir Hryunov was already throwing verbal jabs at all-mighties.
“It all depends on how busy Canelo is... but Sergey Kovalev’s loss should be avenged”, he proclaimed.
“He was grabbing too much”, said Chudinov of his opponent. “I guess he was trying to be one step ahead of me all the time but he has done to many unnecessary moves”. Indeed.
Decorated former amateur star Khariton Agrba (1-0) made his pro debut in a rough but somewhat monotonous fight versus his Argentina-based compatriot Shokhruh Abdiev (7-1-1, 3 KOs), scoring a unanimous decision over six rounds. BoxingScene had it 59-55 for Agrba.