By Alexey Sukachev
Russia - Rapidly rising Tajik star Shavkat Rakhimov (13-0, 10 KOs), who is based at the city of Ekaterinburg, Russia, impressed once again - this time by destroying capable upset artist and former world title challenger Robinson Castellanos (24-14, 14 KOs) in just two rounds. Rakhimov retained his IBO 130lb title for the second time.
IBF #9 southpaw Rakhimov, 24, was in hot pursuit from the opening bell. He looked younger and felt fresher than his opponent, trying to land hard left hands. One of them followed Rakhimov's stiff right jab late into the first to drop Castellanos down for the first time.
After the bell, Rakhimov continued delivery and soon dropped the veteran Mexican again with yet another left bomb. Castellanos got up but soon found himself down again after another barrage of punches from Rakhimov. Referee Alexander Kalinkin asked what was his name, and Castellanos answered but it didn't help him much, as the Tajik bomber rushed in to continue pounding and finally dropped the Mexican for the third and last time.
Time of stoppage was 1:36 of the second round. Rakhimov scored a TKO win over durable former two-time IBF champion Malcolm Klaassen in his latest fight. Castellanos, 36, has wins over Celestino Caballero, Alberto Garza, Alejandro Sanabria, Rocky Juarez, Ronny Rios and Yuriorkis Gamboa in his famed past.
In a co-main event of the evening, WBA #15 Ekaterinburg-based Tajik prospect Mukhammadkhuja Yakubov (12-0, 8 KOs), 23, landed a crushing left hook to the solar plexus of young Mexican Victor Alejandro Gonzalez (18-2, 9 KOs), still just 19, to end matters at 2:52 of the very first round. Yakubov acquired a vacant WBC International super featherweight title in process.
IBF #4 and WBA #7 (formerly also ranked #1 by the WBO) light middleweight Magomed Kurbanov (15-0, 11 KOs) improved his credentials with a solid win over extremely awkward Zimbabwean import Charles Manyuchi, who has previously scored an upset decision over Kurbanov's teammate Dmitry Mikhailenko in 2016.
Manyuchi, 28, was very unorthodox, while fighting in close quarters with more conventional fighter in Kurbanov. He paid some price by eating multiple shots from Kurbanov, but his chin sustained this punishment, which sometimes looked overwhelming. However, Manyuchi landed little leathe in return, mostly connecting his wide swings to the gloves or arms of Kurbanov. The latter was unable to capitalize on horrible technical blemishes, if not strenghts, of Manyuchi but did enough to dominate his opponent over ten rounds.
Final scores were: 99-91, 99-91, and 97-93 - for Kurbanov, 23. Manyuchi drops down to 22-4-1, 13 KOs.