by Tamas Pradarics
Undefeated Imre Szello returns to the ring this coming Friday in Budakalasz, Hungary. The cruiserweight contender, who is the reigning WBO Inter-Continental titlist, will take on once light heavyweight prospect Denis Grachev in a fight that serves as the main event of a Felix Promotion card.
Grachev (16-5-1, 9 KOs) has a name Hungarian boxing fans know very well. In 2013 the Russian fighter took part part in a four-man tournament in Monaco called “Million Dollar Super 4” that also contained unbeaten, former two-division champion Zsolt Erdei. The other two participants were American Edwin Rodriguez and Argentinian Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna.
The Hungarian Erdei had a closer-than-expected affair with his willing Russian counterpart that ended in a razor close, split decision in favor of Grachev. The controversial ending burnt into the heart of many Hungarian boxing fans.
For Szello (19-0, 12 KOs), this bout is about taking revenge on Grachev for beating the most accomplished Hungarian professional fighter ever in Erdei, before the 34-year-old contender can concentrate on securing a world title fight at cruiserweight.
The Cegled-native Szello is currently ranked No. 4 by the WBO at 200 pounds so he is in a good place to get a shot in the not-so-distant future.
Grachev is currently enjoying a three-bout winning streak following a disastrous 1-5 run in between 2012 and 2014. The Russian’s biggest win next to the decision victory over Erdei is a TKO in eight frames over blue-chip prospect Ismayl Sillah from early 2012.
“I don’t mind finishing the fight as soon as possible, but, of course, I can go ten rounds without a problem if necessary. Grachev is a fine boxer, but, to be honest, being well-prepared I can not find any way that would serve him well. We have done everything in the gym with [my trainer] Robert Bertok. On Friday you can witness a better-than-ever Imre Szello” said the unbeaten Hungarian contender in a press release.
Reigning WBO Inter-Continental super middleweight titlist Shefat Isufi (25-3-2, 20 KOs) will target the first defense of his belt against Argentinian Rafael Sosa Pintos (56-13, 23 KOs). The Serbian-born, German citizen Isufi is ranked No. 5 by the WBO at 168 pounds.
Unbeaten super welterweight prospect Ferenc Berki Jr will challenge his first national title against experienced Laszlo Fazekas (31-29-1, 18 KOs, 1 ND). The 22-year-old Berki Jr (10-5 KOs) has some talent is expected to last farther than most of his countrymen on the international fight scene.
WBO Youth super middleweight champ Renato Egedi (11-1-2, 5 KOs) is scheduled to have his first attempt to win a Hungarian title when he faces Mark Krammerstodter (3-0-1, 2 KOs) for the vacant belt.
Former amateur European champion and 2016 Rio Olympian Balazs Bacskai (4-0, 1 KO) continues to build himself towards future international accomplishments. The 30-year-old middleweight prospect will take on Tanzanian Meshack Mwankemwa (17-4-2, 10 KOs) in a six-rounder.
Gabor Gorbics (23-9, 14 KOs) will face Zoltan Kispal (8-3, 6 KOs) in an interesting crossroads bout at 154 pounds. Reigning light heavyweight Hungarian champion Mate Kis (10-0-2, 7 KOs) takes on Bosnian Ermin Avdic (11-4, 8 KOs) in an 8-round matchup. Uensal Arik (25-2, 22 KOs) will face journeyman Aleksandar Kuvac (11-45, 6 KOs). Exciting light heavyweight prospect Arpad Klasz (9-0, 9 KOs) will also be in action.
The now sold-out event is being promoted by leading Hungarian boxing promoter, Felix Racz’s Felix Promotion, and gets televised live on M4 Sport, Hungary’s national sports broadcaster, as well as on national Albanian TV.