By Elisinio Castillo
Former world champion Omar Narvaez is back in the world title picture after securing a technical knockout victory over previously undefeated Russian contender Nikolai Potapov after seven rounds of action.
The fight was a WBO final eliminator for the opportunity to face bantamweight world champion Zolani Tete of South Africa.
At Argentina's Obras Stadium, called Templo del Rock, and before a crowd of over 2,200 spectators, the former flyweight and super fly world champion of the WBO was in full control from beginning to end.
Now Narvaez, 42 years old, is in a position to fight eliminator against Tete.
"I never really felt the fact that I had not fought for a year and a half. I always prepared very well, perhaps, now better than ever. I knew I had to punish him. Those punches hurt him," said Narvaez, who secured 47 victories (25 by knockout), two defeats and two draws.
In the beginning, the two fighters were feeling each other in the center of the ring. The Argentine boxer sought to keep him at a distance, with an incisive left jab.
The Russian boxer, based in Brooklyn, tried to use his stature and his reach to prevail.
Gradually, Narvaez began to make a difference. With the style that characterized him throughout his career, the veteran found the right openings and landed hard shots.
In the fifth round, Narvaez, with more than 20 years of experience on his back, exerted a clear dominance with his punching, going up and down with punches, to the face and the body. The Russian boxer was all over the place.
In the seventh, the former world champion executed a series of combinations that completely undermined the resistance of Potapov, who was unable to come out to fight in the eighth. The referee Celestino Ruiz would then rule a technical knockout victory in favor of the Argentine boxer.
Potapov, the bantamweight champion of the NABO, lost his undefeated record. In 19 bouts, he won 17 (8 per knockout) and the remaining fight was a draw.