By Alexey Sukachev

Yuri Fedorov, best known for his historical promotion of the Oleg Maskaev vs. Peter Okhello fight – the first time, when a world champion from Russia defended his crown on a domestic soil – continued his recent activities under the Empire Sport banner with a huge show at the Olimp in Krasnodar, Russia. A fourteen-fight mega-show took place this past Friday, Sep. 23.

Headlining the card was hard-working but not hard-hitting Ossetian welterweight Aslanbek Kozaev in another test of his lately stalling career. Kozaev took on previously undefeated RSA-based Congolese Paul Kamanga over twelve rounds for a vacant IBO International 147lb title. WBC #15 Kamanga wasn’t a gimme by any means, having scored his last three wins over competent second-tier opponents like Jason Bedeman, Roman Belaev and Roman Zhailauov, adding them to previously defeated Kaizer Mabuza.

However, against an offensive swarmer Kozaev, who is known for his stocky built coupled with frenetic punch output, he was outslugged and outfought by the local fighter. Kozaev charged later on to get an upper hand in the championship rounds. All three judges awarded this fight to the fighter from Russia: 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111. Kamanga drops down to 19-1, 11 KOs, while Kozaev improves to 30-2-1, 7 KOs.

The second title fight of the night was much easier for a winning party, as Fedor “Mr Knockout” Papazov (18-2, 11 KOs) acquired a vacant IBO I/C lightweight title by dominating hard-built Argentinean Sergio Mauricio Gil (19-8-2, 13 KOs) over twelve one-sided rounds with almost identical card: 100-90, 100-90, and 99-91. Contrary to his moniker, Papazov failed to get the job done within a time limit, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given a fact how tough Gil really is – he has never been stopped.

Russian heavyweight champion Ruslan Fayfer, who is a natural cruiser, interrupted his seven-fight kayo streak, being forced to work extremely hard in order to get a win over rugged reigning Russian 200lb national champion Andrey Knyazev in a non-title affair. Fayfer was working much in close quarters but Knyazev gave him fits. Fayfer’s win, which brought his record to solid 17-0, 11 KOs, was very narrow: 78-77, 77-76, and unrealistic 79-73. Knyazev, who is probably better known for his loss to future WBO champion Olexander Usyk a year and a half ago – his only stoppage defeat, is now 13-4, 7 KOs, with back-to-back losses to 16-0 opponents.

Russian welterweight champion Petros Ananyan (8-0-2, 5 KOs) stayed ultra active this year, getting his fifth win in six fight in 2016. Ananyan’s task was the easiest as his presumably (surely, only on paper) capable foe Dmitry Ganiev was fighting for the first time in five years. On the opposite side, Ananyan was coming off a very solid win over rugged Filipino Rey Labao just a month and a half ago. Disparity in shape and class resulted in an easy blowout. Ganiev (13-2-1, 5 KOs) was down in rounds one, two and three before the referee signalized enough was enough. Time was 2:37.

Local fight fans also witnessed a new talent in Swiss-based light heavyweight Yoann Kongolo, who got a serious step up with a win over durable Russian veteran Konstantin Piternov (20-10, 10 KOs) over six rounds. Scores were: 60-55, 59-55, and 59-56. Kongolo is now 4-0, 2 KOs.

Other bouts:

Sakhib Usarov (20-0, 7 KOs) TKO 5 Alexander Saltykov (10-37-3, 5 KOs). Saltykov was down once in the 4th and twice in the fifth round. Formerly world-rated bantamweight Usarov fought for the first time in three years.

Isa Chaniev (8-0, 5 KOs) TKO 3 Sherzodbek Mamajonov (9-17-4, 6 KOs). Mamajonov is now 1-15 in his last sixteen fights. He was dropped thrice in this fight.

Sergey Shigashev (4-0, 2 KOs) TKO 3 Evgueny Kazakov (2-1, 1 KO)

Lendrush Akopyan (5-0, 3 KOs) TKO 3 Alexander Gaishun (1-1-1, 1 KO)

Zamig Atakishiyev (3-0, 1 KO) SD 6 Tornike Purichamiashvili (8-1, 4 KOs)

Arsen Aziev (4-0, 2 KOs) TKO 1 Murad Dalkhaev (5-9, 2 KOs). Dalkhaev was stopped for the first time in his career

Samvel Gandilyan (0-0-1) D 4 Andrey Nurchinskiy (9-12-4, 7 KOs)

Ilya Blinnikov (2-0, 1 KO) UD 4 Firdous Azimjonov (1-6)

Magomed Bulguchev (1-0) UD 4 Elmin Safarli (0-3)