COVID-19 pandemic is changing reality in numerous ways. One of the aspects of the new reality, produced by the deadly virus, is directly linked to prizefighting.

For a proper example of the “new normal” one can go no further than a pro boxing card, staged tonight in Ekaterinburg by German Titov and RCC Boxing Promotions. The tripleheader featured only domestic clashes with the RCC intrinsic collision in its main event. Former world title challenger Zaur Abdullaev came out as the winner of the day with a dominating, knockdown-filled performance against fellow lightweight contender Pavel Malikov.

WBC #7 Abdullaev, 26, was on a rise before being stopped last September by American prodigy Devin Haney for the WBC interim 135lb title.

IBF #8 and WBO #12 Malikov, 34, suffered his sole loss in April 2018 against Daud “Cino” Yordan and looked solid after that, including a win over another former world title challenger IsaChaniev in his latest fight.

This time taller, more powerful Abdullaev was at the different level with the hard-nosed veteran, who has seen it all both in the ring and out of it. Abdullaev used solid jab to keep Malikov at bay and slowly dismantled him with a mixture of jabs and hard body punches. Malikov tried to find his luck on the inside but Abdullaev easily took his punch, while avoiding a majority of blows.

Both fatigue and tonnage of eaten punches piled up for Malikov up to the critical mark in round four, while his punch resistance degraded under the body storm of his teammate. In the fourth, a prolonged execution started with a liver hook for the first knockdown and a left-right combo for the second one. Malikov bravely stood up with a grimace of pain each time and jumped back into the fight.

In the fifth, hew want down again after the left hook to the body, but again manned himself up for more. Abdullaev didn’t hesitate to deliver but took his time to explode in the sixth. Another double (body-to-head) left hook had Malikov down for the fourth time, then he went down with yet another body punch and once again with a left to the head to end the round.

Too brave for his own good, Malikov refused to surrender, and in the seventh Abdullaev exploded again with a wicked left to the already damaged liver section. Malikov did his best to overcome severe pain but couldn’t being finally counted out at 1:26 of the seventh round.

Zaur Abdullaev improves his record to 12-1, 8 KOs, and starts a new title run, while veteran Malikov, showing tremendous courage, is getting back to 16-2-1, with 6 KOs.


WBA #5, WBO #7 and WBC #11 light middleweight Magomed Kurbanov (20-0, 12 KOs) produced his best performance in years with a vaporizing first-round knockout of underdog Ilya Ochkin, which happened 1:22 into the very first round.

Kazakhstani native Ochkin, who now fights out of Chekhov, Russia, recklessly went after much more experienced Kurbanov right after the bell, and one of the RCC top competitors obliged, hiding behind his Philly shell-like defense before exploding with a major overhand right that had Ochkin down and out immediately.

Ochkin, 24, is now 6-2, 2 KOs. Kurbanov, 25, improved his credentials and could be on his way to a mid-career revival.


It looked like the fight against soft-punching and a bit soft-looking super featherweight Dmitry Khassiev was made for previously undefeated Kazakhstani expatriate Stanislav Kalitskiy, who now calls Ekaterinburg his home, but Khassiev took no prisoners in a stunning eighth-round stoppage of the pre-fight favorite.

In the beginning, however, chances for the final success seemed bleak for Khassiev. Kalitskiy, 23, looked more solid with his sticky jab and offensive technique. In round two, he dropped Khassiev, 25, with a combination of punches for a flash knockdown, and it looked Stanislav’s fight all the way at that point.

The first point of a comeback story occurred in the third, when Kalitskiy suffered a cut over his left eyebrow. Khassiev smelt the blood and upped his aggression. Kalitskiy started to gas out after the mid-point of a scheduled ten-rounder, while Khassiev increased the tempo and started to deliver heat to his opponent. Rounds six and seven were mostly in Khassiev’s favour, and he started to dominate in the eighth round. Late into the stanza, southpaw Khassiev connected with a huge left cross that put Kalitskiy down. He got up but a subsequent flurry of punches forced referee to halt the contest.

Time of stoppage was 2:25. Kalitskiy drops down to 10-1, 3 KOs, while Khassiev (10-2-2, 4 KOs) is on fire with the second consecutive stoppage of previously unbeaten opponent; the first one being 11-0-2 Nikita Kuznetosv, who Khassiev stopped in March within two rounds.


Abkhazia native Igor Adleiba (10-0-1, 4 KO) suffered his first career setback in a surprising draw against considerable underdog Kantemir Kalazhokov (2-6-1). Taller but significantly slower Kalazhokov started successfully, using his underrated timing and reach advantage to continuously dominate in jab encounters.

Welterweight Adleiba, though with a success story behind him, looked like a rookie at times but slowly worked his way back into the fight by later rounds. Still, Kalazhokov looked better in most of the exchanges despite some flashes of technical brilliance from the favorite. No scores were announced but BoxingScene had it 58-56 – over six for Kalazhokov, who produced his best career performance.

Other results:

Ivan Nikonov (4-0, 1 KO) UD 6 Murad Ramazanov (4-1, 1 KO)

Ivan Chirkov (4-0) UD 6 Khasanjon Turakeldiev (1-1, 1 KO)

Evgueny Liashkov (5-1) UD 6 David Hovhannesyan (5-9, 1 KO)

David Gladun (4-0, 1 KO) TKO 2 Denis Khamatov (5-3). Time: 2:46