Rochester, New York - In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated welterweight Bakhtiyar Eyubov of Brooklyn, N.Y., by way of Kazakhstan won a close 10-round split decision—that could have gone either way—against veteran Karim Mayfield of San Francisco, Calif. (95-94 twice for Eyubov and 95-94 for Mayfield).
Eyubov (11-0, 10 KOs), who had never been past the third round, was taken to uncharted waters by the more experienced Mayfield (19-4-1, 11 KOs). Mayfield extended Eyubov far longer than any other opponent and despite out-landing the adoptive Brooklynite in each of the final four rounds (110-80 overall and 87-66 power) Eyubov escaped with a split decision. It was a learning victory for Eyubov and a disheartening loss for Mayfield, who averaged 69 punches per round to Eyubov's 52.
“I felt it was close, but I did everything I wanted to do and I feel I won nearly every round,” said Eyubov. “I was surprised by Mayfield, especially how hard his head is. He is a real man.
“My lip is a little swollen but that’s because of headbutts. Mayfield fought dirty in there. But I’m happy with the decision. I learned that I can go 10 rounds if I have to. I could go 12. I was still strong at the end of the fight.
Mayfield, who was clearly disappointed with the result, felt he won the fight.
“It was a good fight and he’s a tough fighter for sure, but I landed the harder shots and kept active. He was a tough guy, don’t get me wrong, but I certainly won that fight,” said Mayfield. “I feel I performed well. There’s always more work you can do, but for the most part I feel I did good. People thought for some odd reason the fight wouldn’t even go the distance, which is ludicrous. I won the fight though.
“It was part of my game plan to frustrate him and I feel I did that. I executed my plan well. Of course, there was more I could have done. I could have thrown more punches, but I did well.
“They made it seem like he punched like hell, but I guess all punches feel hard to me, so if you’re a hard puncher or a light puncher, it’s still a punch and I don’t want to get punched. I got hit but I was never stunned or anything like that.
“I would love a rematch.”
Eyubov responded, “I don’t know if I would fight him again. I will think about it.”