By Alexey Sukachev
In a period of less than three years, Latvia has slowly evolved into one of the hotbeds of… Russian boxing. Once inspired by Kirill Pchelnikov, the local field is now led by Yuri Fedorov of Sport Empire LTD and his partners. One of the latter – Oksana Chernishova – is staging another event tomorrow in Riga at Studio 69.
There will be no barnburners or even notable match-ups but one sound debut is due, and one former world champion is scheduled to appear in the card.
Fighting for the first time as a pro is super middleweight Artem Chebotarev. The 28-year old fighter had a decorated amateur career, winning three national boxing championships, once becoming a European champion and once AIBA Pro champion. Chebotarev was also 2013 world championship bronze medalist and 2016 Olympian representative for Russia. He makes his debut against Hungarian journeyman Norbert Szekeres (18-55-3, 9 KOs), aged 30, in a scheduled six-rounder. Szekeres has lost his last eight.
Former long-time WBA flyweight king Lorenzo Parra (32-5-2, 19 KOs) of Venezuela continues his sad journey as a boxing stepping stone. Parra, once defeating such fighters as undefeated reigning or future champions Eric Morel and Brahim Asloum and going 2-1 against Japanese Takefumi Sakata – fighting exclusively abroad, came back to the ring the last year. He is 1-1-1 since then, fighting several weight classes above his natural division. Parra, now aged 38, will be opposed by up-and-coming Russian Armenian Petros Ananyan (9-0-2, 5 KOs), 28, who had a solid campaign in 2016 going 6-0-1, 4 KOs.
The main event is formally a clash between lightweight Fedor Papazov (18-2, 11 KOs) and Mexican Uriel Barrera (22-6, 13 KOs) for Papazov’s IBO I/C lightweight title, scheduled twelve. Also on the card is undefeated but inactive heavyweight prospect Vladimir Tereshkin (19-0-1, 9 KOs), who takes on Tamas Bajzath (12-19-1, 6 KOs) of Hungary over six.
Sergey Shigashev (5-0, 2 KOs) vs. Joseph Sinkala (11-9-1, 5 KOs) – 8 rounds, light middleweights
Lendrush Akopyan (6-0, 4 KOs) vs. Pavel Semjonov (17-5-2, 7 KOs) – 6 rounds, light middleweights
Ilya Blinnikov (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Franklin Varela (21-27, 10 KOs) – 4 rounds, super featherweights
Nikolajs Grisunins (1-0) vs. Konstantin Bulohovs (2-1, 2 KOs) – 4 rounds, cruiserweights
Abdula Abubakarov (pro debut) vs. Maxim Wilde (1-0) – 4 rounds, welterweights