Former amateur standout Ruslan Kamilov continued his rise to the top of the rankings with another solid win, which this time crowned a year-end party for the Titov/RCC Boxing Promotions, a Russian boxing stronghold, which operates under the guidance of the Titov family – German (father) and Alexey (son) – mostly in the Ural Region. To get another W super featherweight Kamilov was forced to go the distance against fellow Russian Nikita Kuznetsov, although the victory wasn’t a hard one.
Kamilov, 32, debuted as a pro just four years ago after an extended amateur run. Meanwhile, Kuznetsov, 25, had more pro experience, as he turned to the paid ranks in 2015. However, unlike Kamilov, whose only blemish – a draw versus Evgueny Smirnov – took place in February 2019 and was followed by three consecutive wins (which includes the second-round stoppage of Smirnov in a return bout – Kamilov’s latest fight), Kuznetsov was coming off a second-round TKO loss to Dmitry Khasiev in March 2020.
From the opening bell it was clear Kamilov had the upper hand. He used his vast technical arsenal to outsmart and outhustle his opponent, beating him with his upper hand with a visible ease. Kuznetsov combined aggression in spurts with some lateral movement attempts but that really didn’t work against Kamilov, who moved out of danger when Nikita attacked and retaliated with rapid combinations.
The fight was slowly moving Kamilov’s way, when Kuznetsov was urged by his corner right after the mid-point that Ruslan started to run out of gas.
Kuznetsov tried to up the pressure but it worked perfectly for Kamilov who started to set traps and to punish Kuznetsov on his way in. By the eighth Nikita was bleeding off his nose, while Kamilov was fresh and saw little-to-none marks on his face.
All three judges had it unanimously for Kamilov (9-0-1, 4 KOs): 99-91, 99-91, and 98-92. Kamilov acquired a vacant WBO Intercontinental 130lb title, while Kuznetsov drops down to less solid 11-2-2, with 5 KOs.
In a chief supportive fight of the night, super bantamweight Vladimir Nikitin (4-1) came back a year after his one-sided loss to bitter rival Michael Conlan to show solid skills against durable Ukrainian journeyman Olexander Yegorov (20-4-1, 10 KOs), winning a one-sided unanimous decision over eight rounds.
Nikitin was way faster than Yegorov and he was also very aggressive. Yegorov took a lot of punishment to the body and turned into a near stationary target for Nikitin's violent flurries. Yet, the Ukrainian showed remarkable durability and survival power to last the distance without going down and/or out. Both fighters were deducted points in the eighth round. Yegorov ducked low too often and used his head dangerously, while Nikitin understandably was mauling Yegorov with some rabbit punches when he behaved that way. Yegorov has never been stopped in his career but lost his third straight.
2016 Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov of Uzbekistan made his Russian pro debut and looked very solid in a one-sided beatdown of Armenian journeyman Manuk Dilanyan over eight rounds. No scores were announced for the unanimous decision but 80-71 would be a nice measuring stick for this contest.
Welterweight southpaw Gaibnazarov, no spring chicken at 29, made his debut in the U.S. and went 7-0 before running into ultra-lanky Mykal Fox, losing a unanimous decision. He then relocated to the Old World and started to show the promise he once ignited with his amateur achievements.
Bigger, taller Dilanyan tried hard to deliver heat to the Olympic champion but the difference in ability was very hard to overcome. Gaibnazarov dropped Dilanyan with a well-placed liver shot late into the third and cruised to 9-1, 5 KOs. Dilanyan, 26, is now 11-5-1, 4 KOs.
Evgueny Chuprakov (23-3, 12 KOs) was a world-title challenger – which saw a seventh-round TKO loss to Masayuki Ito – less than two years ago. Now, he is struggling with club fighters, working hard to overcome their resistance.
Against Uzbek import Sardor Muzzafarov (4-4, 2 KOs), Chuprakov, 30, ate a lot of punches in the opening rounds, being stalked from pillar to post but managed to survived the onslaught, evened things up by the mid-point and worked his way back to narrowly outpoint his opponent. Scores were: 76-76, 77-75, and 78-74 – for Chuprakov’s majority decision.
Also, light welterweight Igor Adleiba continued his winning path and also continued his struggles as a pro with a tight split decision over Armenian Musheg Sukiasyan (8-4-1, 2 KOs), who was out of the ring for almost two years. The scores were 58-56, 58-56 and 56-58 – for Adleiba (11-0-1, 4 KOs).