By Alexey Sukachev
Basket Hall, Krasnodar, Russia - Undefeated welterweight Konstantin Ponomarev (33-0, 13 KOs) returned to the ring after ten months out and fought in his native land for the first time in three-plus years.
Ponomarev pitched out a unanimous decision over fight veteran Pavel Mamontov (12-7-2, 1 KO) to capture a vacant Russian 147lb belt. Scores were: 99-91, 98-92, and 97-92 - for Ponomarev, 25.
WBC #8, IBF #9 and WBA #14 rated welterweight has previously fought in the States and was rather successful there, getting win over fellow undefeated prospects Brad Solomon and Mikael Zewski. He was penciled to fight Carlos Ocampo in the final IBF eliminator but withdrew from it for reasons not officially reported.
Well-known Russian light welterweight Aik "Kadj" Shakhnazaryan (21-2, 11 KOs) came out of a lengthy hiatus and stopped overmatched Georgian Jaba Shalutashvili (24-20-1, 12 KOs) in three one-sided rounds. Shakhnazaryan was last seen in the ring over a year ago. He is still young (24) and back with his former coach Victor Petrochenko (also known as a chief second for Dmitry Pirog and Maxim Vlasov - among others).
Edmonton, Alberta's own Ryan Ford (14-2, 9 KOs) tried his luck but failed to find undefeated Russian stylist Andrey Sirotkin inside the ring, falling to Sirotkin's elusiveness and quick footwork over twelve rounds en route to a close unanimous decision loss.
The pattern was set in round one. Ford, the son of the popular Edmonton lightweight Al Ford, was much more powerful (in every department) than WBA #9 ranked super middleweight from Russia. But Sirotkin was durable and also much faster. So, Ford, 35, pressed the action but with partial success. When he did land his shots, Sirotking was sometimes visibly shaken but the Canadian rather muddied them than actually hit the Russian. Sirotkin fought quite awkwardly, often ducking under the arm of free-swinging Ford, grabbing some but also landing some punches.
The fight was twice interrupted and almost cut short by unusual reasons - the canvas has given up in the center of the ring not once but twice, forcing referee Ingo Barrabas to pause the action. At the end it didn't matter as well as Ford's late surge. Sirotkin got a decision with scores: 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111 - and improved his record to 15-0, 4 KOs. Best known for his previous win - a stoppage of ancient former star Ricardo Mayorga - the Russian retained his WBA I/C belt for the first time).
Rising Russia-based Armenian David Agadzanyan (13-0, 8 KOs) has finally captured an elusive, vacant WBO Youth featherweight title with a decision win over determined Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema (21-2, 11 KOs) in a ten-rounder.
That wasn't an overly impressive performance on behalf of Agadzhanyan, who was forced to work hard, specifically during the second half of the contest. Still, Agadzhanyan looked much better than his African counterpart, who was fighting abroad for the second time in his career (the first tme he was stopped in Philippines) and rightfully got the decision despite a cut over his right eye, opened late in the fight.
Scores were: 99-90, 98-91, and 98-91. Agadzhanyan previously attempted to acquire this belt in October 2017 but his fight versus Marvin Esquierdo resulted in a No Contest.