By Anton Gorunov & Alexey Sukachev
Ice Palace "Terminal", Brovari, Ukraine - Sergio Gabriel Martinez is universally recognized as the best middleweight in the world. But the question still remains, who is the most dangerous player at 160-pounds? Former amateur megastar and presently the WBA/IBO middleweight king Gennady Golovkin (23-0, 20 KOs) gave his version of the answer by continuing his reign of terror. Golovkin used less than three rounds to completely devastate OPBF and Japanese champion Makoto Fuchigami (19-7, 10 KOs) in a spectacular fashion.
WBA #9 Fuchigami, 28, had no chance from the get-go. Golovkin was patient, while the Japanese boxer was very timid and relaxed. He circled around the ring peppering the Kazakh's front glove with pitty-pat jabs. He indeed landed a couple of shots but when Golovkin started firing with his guns, Fuchigami immediately found himself in danger. With a couple of heavy blows Golovkin put a bad cut over the Japanese fighter's left eye.
Fuchigami was in full retreat at the start of the second round. Golovkin was throwing big bombs at a measured pace. Fuchigami was down in the corner after a hard right hand but managed to get up. The one-sided annihilation continued in the third round. Golovkin soon cornered him with series of shots, which landed cleanly on Makoto's face, and pummelled him until the Japanese fighter fell down. He got up again but soon ate several more painful blows imploring legendary referee Ignacio Martinez to step in and wave it off.
Golovkin made the fourth defense of the belt and the fourth via stoppage. He needs much better opposition to reveal the limits of his talent.
His opponent's padded record and a lengthy layoff tricked him into a difficult fight, but in the end it was WBO/IBO junior middleweight champion Zaurbek Baysangurov, not his French opponent Michel Soro, who overcame tremendous adversity and proved that he belongs among the elite at 154-pounds after twelve highly entertaining rounds of two-way action.
Many thought Baysangurov, 27, was nothing more than a paper champion coming into this fight. He captured the interim-version of the WBO crown last July by beating Mike Miranda, a nonsense Brazilian journeyman with a heavily padded record. He fought just once in a year and a half, and he was elevated to full champion status when the World Boxing Organization chose to strip Sergey Dzinziruk of his title.
Fears were valid, and WBO #5 ranked Soro, a 22-year old part-time fighter from France, showed his ranking was legitimate, when he started to outbox the slower-than-usual Russian in the first round. Baysangurov tried to impose his will by showing aggression and throwing harder leather but Soro was quicker, countered well and was fluid with his feet. A thunder was still to strike though, and it struck in the second when Soro caught an onrushing Zaurbek with a horrific left jab and then landing a right hand in succession, which put Baysangurov down. He was up at the count of four but Soro failed to close the show.
Baysangurov came back strong in the third with body punches, and the fourth stanza was nearly even. However, in the fifth Soro was once again was live and thriving. The Frenchman had another major moment after he tagged the Russian with a helluva right uppercut. Baysangurov somehow survived and fought to the end. From that point on the fight changed significantly. Baysangurov was forced to fight harder and more consistently. He established a full-scaled body attack and started to land power punches to the head as well.
The sixth round was close but rounds seven through eleven were all in favor of Baysangurov. The Russian pressed the action and forced his opponent to retreat under heavy fire. Soro did his best to retaliate but the experience just wasn't in place. Zaurbek had a major round nine, when he hurt Soro with a left to the body and round ten was also in his in a big way. Soro had his moments but he was tired and it showed.
At the end of the day, Soro picked up everything he had left and started the twelfth extremely energetic. But it was too little and too late... Judge Mikael Hook (Sweden) scored it 115-113, Zbiegniew Lagos (Poland) saw it 117-111 and Jose Ignacio Martinez (Spain) had it 116-111 - all for the Russian. BoxingScene had it a notch closer - 115-113. Baysangurov (now 27-1, with 20 KOs) retains his WBO and IBO light middleweight titles. Michel Soro (18-1, 11 KOs) suffers his first defeat but has nothing to be ashamed of.
Rising cruiserweight star Isa Akberbayev (10-0, 7 KOs) of Kazakhstan easily retained his IBO I/C title with a fourth-round stoppage of Argentinean hard-hitting journeyman Mauro Adrian Ordiales (28-10, 26 KOs). Akberbayev, 28, started the fight in a measured pace but starting from the second round the ethnic Chechen started to land hard right hands in single punches and in combinations. He was faster, stronger and more consistent than his opponent.
Late into the third, Ordiales leaned in but was met with a hard left-right combo by Akberbayev near the ropes. After a heated exchange and possibly a clash of heads - Ordiales went to his corner with a severe vertical cut in the center of his forehead. The blood was dripping despite all of the efforts of the Argentinean corner, and early into the fourth the referee waved it off. Because the ref signalized the cut came from an Akberbayev uppercut, the fight was ruled a TKO win at 0:01 of the 4th.
Former light heavyweight world title challenger Vyacheslav Uzelkov (26-2, 16 KOs), who lost a one-sided decision to Beibut Shumenov in July 2010 and who is still ranked #7 by the WBA and #10 by the IBF, came back to the ring for the first time since dropping a close decision to Eduard Gutknecht in February and didn't resemble at all the fighter who stopped Gabriel Campillo and a string of other top-notch European light heavyweights.
Slow and plodding Uzelkov came out lazy in the first. He marched after his opponent without any jabs and taking all the counters in retaliation. Ravshanbek Jabbarov (10-3, 5 KOs), an inexperienced fighter from Uzbekistan, peppered hism with jabs on his way out but was too feather-fisted to get any success. Uzelkov landed some telling blows in the third and in the fourth but Jabbarov was better defensively and was quick on his feet in the fifth. The sixth was quite even, with no one getting an edge. However, Uzelkov finished the bout stronger than he started it by pummelling Jabbarov and landing clear blows.
All three judges awarded it to Uzelkov: 78-74, 79-74 and 80-72. BoxingScene had it much closer: 77-75. Despite a win, Uzelkov disappointed in the fight. He will be lucky to remain in title mix but chances he will succeed seem negligable.
Heavyweight Andrey Rudenko (21-0, 13 KOs), who outweighed his Georgian opponent Paata Berikashvili (12-14-1, 5 KOs) by roughly 40 pounds, stopped the latter in four rounds in controversial style. Rudenko scored big several times but took some hits as well. However, Berikashvili got injured in the fourth and was stopped soon thereafter. He has vehemently protested the stoppage.
In a severe upset, previously undefeated Ukrainian middleweight Kostya Rovenskiy was knocked down in the third round by almost unknown Uzbek opponent Muhitdin Rajapbaev (8-2, 5 KOs). He got up but was beaten to the punch and outclassed by the Uzbek for the next four rounds before the bout was mercifully stopped in the seventh. Rovenskiy falls down to 17-1-2, with just 4 KOs.
Formerly ranked Ukrainian junior middleweight Dmytro Nikulin (24-1, 8 KOs) won a close eight round unanimous decision over his Georgian opponent George Ungiadze (18-13, 8 KOs) but didn't look particularly good in his second fight after a year-long lay-off. The scores were 77-76, 78-74 and 79-74 - for Nikulin.
Welterweight stalwart and former WBA fringe contender Viktor Plotnykov (28-1, 13 KOs) decisioned Nugzar Margvelashvili (23-17, 10 KOs) over eight rounds. Plotnikov dished out punishement and dropped his foe in the final round, but he couldn't finish him off. The scores were lopsided, 80-72, 80-73 and 79-73. Referee was the legendary Mickey Vann.