Moscow, Russia - WBA Gold super middleweight champion Fedor Chudinov (23-2-1, 16 KOs) suffered his first setback in three and a half years by earning ten round draw (and a fair one) in a very close, punch-by-punch encounter with veteran contender/gatekeeper Isaac Chilemba, who went down in weight after ten plus years as a light heavyweight.
Malawian "Golden Boy" Chilemba, 32, was huge 188 pounds in his latest fight - a decision over Alexander Kubich in December 2019. He was just 2-5 coming into this fight, including losses in championship affairs to Russian titleholders Sergey Kovalev (a close on in 2016) and Dmitry Bivol (more one-sided in 2018). Chudinov, 33, meanwhile was 8-0, 5 KOs, since his only stoppage loss to the Saint George Groves in 2017.
Both fighters produced their trademark performances. Chudinov was stalking his opponent, gloves tightly covering his chin, opening his head for upper punches. Chudinov - despite showing some hints of technical improvement under a guidance of coach Vitaliy Slanov - was moving forward almost without any jab, relying almost solely on his power punches. Chudinov used uppercuts on the inside but hunted mostly for Isaac's head rather than his body. Overhand rights was a sneak option for the Russian fighter.
Chilemba, as always, was trying to keep WBO #9 and WBC #10 Chudinov at bay with his crisp jab, and he also peppered Chudinov's defense with fast multi-punch combinations, which lacked power but were numerous. However, his best weapon in close quarters were body punches. They did little to prevent smaller but stockier Chudinov from coming in but they did slow him down a bit. Chudinov landed less on the inside and seemingly delivered less power but his timing was great and he was one pressuring his opponent.
There were no knockdowns. Neither fighter was seriously hurt. There were no sudden twists in a flow of the fight just an intense, high-octane action for ten very close rounds. Three judges were divided in their opinion on the outcome: 97-93, 95-95, and 94-97 - a three-way draw. Chilemba stays even at 26-7-3, 10 KOs. BoxingScene had it 96-95 - for Chudinov.
Russian Armenian Edgar Gukasysan (8-2-1, 3 KOs) was held to a draw by Venezuelan import Adrian Perez Aparicio (16-8, 14 KOs) in a scheduled six-rounder. Perez was better during the starting rounds and right at the end of the contest, while Gukasyan looked solid in the middle rounds. No scores were announced but it was a majority draw.
The entire show was promoted by famous Russian promoter Vladimir Hryunov in co-operation with the Ren TV Channel, which aired the fight card live.
Featured bouts were preceded and intersected by a series of celebrity fights.
Well-known (locally) powerlifting celebrity Mikhail Koklyaev decisioned MMA blogger Artem Tarasov by a majority decision in a four-round war of attrition.
Debuting flamboyant Russian MMA journeyman Vyacheslav Datsik, a controversial figure in and outside the ring or the cage, was losing hopelessly on points to Cameroonian import Tyson Digene, a K1 African and Cameroonian amateur champion, who was also making his pro debut, before landing huge in the fourth and putting his foe through the ropes on the same table, or maybe quite near one, where Nikolay Valuev was sitting as a part of the broadcast team. Digene made it back to the ring in time but was counted out by referee Andrey Kunyavka, while still standing on a knee.
As a part of a non-televised undercard, rising light middleweight Stepan Diyun (4-0-1, 4 KOs) scored a quick stoppage of 2004 Columbian Olympian Likar Ramos (30-10, 23 KOs). Diyun got his fourth consecutive early win, while Ramos is going 0-7 while fighting abroad. Likar's greatest fight was a KO 1 loss to Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez nine and a half years ago. Diyun's greatest fights are hopefully in his nearest future.