By Alexey Sukachev
Following one of its hugest pugilistic nights in history, which happened at the Olimpiyskiy Palace of Sports in Moscow, Russia, on July 21, the local fight scene is rapidly getting ready for another installment of the World Boxing Super Series.
With the mutual love clearly in place, Ekaterinburg – the heart of the Ural Region – will make up for quality of the cruiserweight final with a couple of world-class quarterfinals both in the bantamweight and in the cruiserweight divisions.
Tonight, Russian Boxing Federation revealed the pre-final line-up for the card, which will include a plethora of Russian fighters in quality match-ups.
The main event is undeniably a bantamweight WBO title attraction, which will see an ultra-ambitious crack at the belt, waiting to be attempted by professionally inexperienced but willing Russian contender Mikhail Aloyan, 30.
Aloyan was one of the best flyweight amateurs of the recent decade with two (2011 and 2013) world championship gold medals and two (2012 and 2016) Olympic medals (the latter one – a silver one – being stripped off him for drug violations). As an amateur, the Russia-based Yezidi had wins over two-time Olympic champion Robeisy Ramirez, future pugilistic world champions Khalid Yafai, Amnat Ruenroeng and Rau’Shee Warren, as well as wins over top-rated contenders Andrew Selby and Nordine Ouabali.
As a pro, the WBA #5 and WBO #10 bantamweight had just four wins in four fights, none being by a stoppage and the last two being scored only via split decisions. All of his wins were against Nicaraguan opponents.
Tete, also 30, a naturally born power puncher, had been around for a long time, losing to quality fighters (Moruti Mthalane, Juan Alberto Rosas and Roberto Domingo Sosa) in a step-up fights before finally getting crack at title after a career-breakthrough win over JC Sanchez. He followed it up with wins over Teiru Kinoshita and Paul Butler, which brought him the IBF 115lb title. He later made a move up in weight, winning a vacant WBO 118lb title against Filipino Artur Villanueva, before scoring a record-breaking 11-second kayo of countryman Siboniso Gonya in the first defense of the belt. In his latest outing, the South African scored a shutout win over Omar Andres Narvaez.
In a co-main event, two undefeated cruiserweights will collide in a fascinating match-up of will and power. Ruslan Faifer, 27, started his career in August 2013 and has been very active as both a heavyweight and a cruiserweight ever since. He got seven wins in 2015, seven more in 2016 and four more in 2017 to get his record to solid 23-0, 16 KOs. He is also rated #2 by the IBF, #5 by the WBA and #9 by the WBO. His 29-year-old opponent is both experienced (although not as active as Faifer) and powerful, getting a record of 16-0, with 13 KOs. IBF #3, WBC #5 Tabiti has recently defeated solid opponents in Steve Cunningham and Lateef Kayode.
Vladimir Shishkin (7-0, 4 KOs), a 27-year old talent from Serpukhov, Russia, will try to do, what his much more famed compatriot and former WBA super middleweight champion Fedor Chudinov was unable to do. That is to win over WBC #9, IBF #12 and WBA #13 rated Frenchman Nadjib “The Iron Djib” Mohammedi (40-6, 23 KOs), who has recently lost to Chudinov only on paper but not in reality as the split decision for the Russian was ruled as one of the gravest robberies of 2018. This fight is scheduled also for twelve.
IBF #5, WBO #7 and WBA #11 ranked cruiserweight Yuri Kashinskiy (16-0, 15 KOs) shouldn’t experience out-of-order problems with Argentinean power-puncher Juan Ezequiel Basualdo (11-1-1, 10 KOs) in a fight that originally is scheduled for ten.
WBO #14 Russian bantamweight Nikolay Potapov (18-1-1, 9 KOs) will test his skillset against very dangerous Nicaraguan import Alexander Espinoza (16-1-2, 7 KOs). Espinoza is coming off a recent loss (via a split decision) to WBSS participant Mikhail Aloyan.
Light middleweight Magomed Kurbanov (15-0, 11 KOs), once rated #1 by the WBO but now limited to #4 by the IBF, #6 by the WBC, and #13 by the WBC, will look for the IBF Intercontinental 154 lbs title, presently owned by Frenchman Howard Cospollite (17-6-2, 6 KOs).
Still young at 32, heavyweight veteran Andrey Fedosov (30-3, 25 KOs) will test his skills in a ten-rounder against experienced American gut-check Joey Dawejko (19-5-4, 11 KO).
WBO #1 and IBF #8 rated lightweight Roman Andreev (21-0, 15 KOs) will know his opponent later, while 2016 Olympic gold medalist Evgeny Tishchenko (1-0, 1 KO) will collide with Armenian Artush Sarkisyan (4-6, 2 KOs) over six.
Zafar Parpiev (5-1, 1 KOs) vs. Jake Bornea (14-2, 7 KOs) – ten rounds for a vacant IBF Asian bantamweight title
Stanislav Kalitskiy (5-0, 3 KOs) vs. Jestoni Autida (11-9, 5 KOs) – six rounds, super bantamweights