By Alexey Sukachev
A year and three months since her pro debut Kazakhstani lightweight Firuza Sharipova became Kazakhstan's first female world champion by decisioning hard-nosed Bulgarian veteran Milena Koleva over ten rounds at the EXPO 2017 Pavilion in Astana. The fight was the main event of the evening, which was also promoted by 22-year old Sharipova, who turns 23 in three days.
Sharipova, considered by many to be Kazakhstan's most attractive female athlete, started as aggressively as she usually does, pressing Koleva to the ropes, throwing punches in bunches.
Koleva, seven years her senior, tried to counter Sharipova but was unsuccessful in the opening rounds. Sharipova, meanwhile, was versatile and very active, overpowering and outpunching her opponent.
The mid rounds, however, were boxed mostly on even terms, Koleva having finally adjusted to the local hero. Some of Bulgarian's counters were right on point and landed flush at Firuza's jaw which turned to be granite. The Kazakhstani continued to fight through pain and certain distraction. It seemed the fight might have finally turned Koleva's way given the fact that Sharipova had never fought past six before. But Sharipova utilized all her stamina and will to continue her dominance. In the tenth, she rocked Koleva several times with body punches but ten rounds weren't enough for her to get the job done within that distance.
At the end, all thre judges had it identically 100-90 - for Firuza Sharipova (7-1, 4 KOs). Milena Koleva drops down to 9-10-1, 3 KOs. Sharipova, who acquired vacant WIBA and WBU lightweight belts in process, started her pro career in May 2016, losing on her debut to 2012 London Olympics silver medalist Sofya Ochigava, but was unstoppable ever since.
Aydin Yelzhanov (4-0, 3 KOs) TKO 2 Abylaikhan Yesentayev (0-1). Yelzhanov scored two knockdowns in the second round. Yesentayev was making his pro debut
Amitkhan Tuleuov (2-2) TKO 1 Andrey Krementsov (0-1). Debuting Krementsov retired after the end of the first due to an injury.
Temirlan Raimkulov (1-0-1) UD 4 Stepan Portnov (0-1). Scores: 40-37, 40-37 and 39-37