By Alexey Sukachev
Moscow, Russia - Former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (32-1, 23 KOs) of Russia returned for the first time since December, to win a twelve round unanimous decision over Andriy Rudenko (31-3, 19 KOs) of Ukraine to win the WBO International and WBA Continental heavyweight titles.
In what nearly became a very disappointing fight - in the very first round, Rudenko claimed that he was cuffed to the back of the neck when they were fighting on the inside, and he almost quit the fight. He began complaining of a neck injury and was refusing to fight for nearly five minutes, but eventually agreed to box on.
Once the fight restarted, Povetkin's advantage became visible. Rudenko was on the defensive in every round but he still managed to land some serious punches in middle rounds. Nevertheless, the Russian boxer was better in almost every department.
Rudenko was game enough to walk through pain and fatigue in later rounds as Povetkin applied some smart pressure and also started to use his body shots. The Ukrainian clinched it to the final bell despite being hurt and dazzled at the end.
The judges scored the contest 120-109, 120-108, 120-108.
37-year old light welterweight power banger Eduard Troyanovskiy (26-1, 23 KOs) confirmed his reputation of a fearsome puncher by knocking out Italian veteran and former WBA title challenger Michele "The King" di Rocco (41-3-1, 18 KOs) in four rounds.
Troyanovskiy was the first to be slightly rocked in the first. However, the game-changer was dropped by the Russian at the end of the stanza - a huge right bomb, which had di Rocco down hard.
Being still wobbly the Itsluan was battered in the second but somehow avoided being dropped. He was down after a right hand to the scull at the end of the third.
In round four, Troyanovskiy delivered more heat with his right howitzer. Di Rocco, 35, was dropped midst into the round on a delayed effect of Troya's major blow. Then another right hand switched him off at the ropes at 2:18.
Heavyweight prospect Andrey Afonin (4-0, 3 KOs) passed a maturity test from upset-minded Belarussian Yuri Bykhovtsev (9-14-3, 5 KOs), yet without flying colors defeating his opponent on a unanimous decision over eight rounds.
Cruiserweight power-hitter Alexey Egorov (3-0, 2 KOs) methodically broke down Brazilian Carlos Ailton Nascimento (15-5, 11 KOs) in four rounds before finishing him off at 1:05 of the fifth. Egorov landed several unanswered blows forcing referee Sergey Litunov to wave it off with Nascimento still standing.
After three tedious rounds, welterweight Sergey Lubkovich stroke with a right-handed thunder in the fourth immediately putting Hungarian Gabor Gorbics (23-7, 14 KOs) on a queer street. Gorbics was soon down after a right hand, and the again at the end of the round.
The beatdown continued to take place in the fifth, as Gorbics, his right eye swollen, was on a receiving end of Lubkovich's punches. Finally, he was finished with two seconds remaining in the fifth, being placed in a face-first fashion to the canvas after two huge left bombs. Lubkovich improves to 6-0, 5 KOs.
Russian lightweight Svetlana Kulakova (12-0-1, 1 KO) decisioned Bulgarian import Milena Koleva (9-9, 3 KOs) over eight uneventful rounds. BoxingScene had it 98-92 - for the Russian.
Super featherweight prospect Valery Tretyakov kept his unbeaten record intact and improved it to 11-0, 4 KOs, after a hard-fought decision over tough journeyman Ruslan Berchuk (11-8, 4 KOs).
Tretyakov was finer than Berchuk and landed cleaner punches but was also less active in comparison with a journeyman, specifically in later rounds. No scores were announced but BScene had it 96-94 - for Tretyakov.
In an opener, rising featherweight Evgueny Smirnov (10-0-1, 2 KOs) cruised past aging but battle-tested Belarussian veteran Andrey Isaev (30-9, 9 KOs) on a unanimous decision over eight rounds.