By Alexey Sukachev
Lviv, Ukraine - 2012 London Olympics heavyweight champion Olexander Usyk passed the first meaningful test of his yet short professional career with flying colours, stopping durable South African cruiserweight champion Daniel "Billy the Kid" Bruwer (24-6-1, 21 KOs) in seven one-sided rounds.
Usyk, 27 and also 2011 world champion, took a cautious approach, firstly getting adjusted to his opponent. He has been peppering Bruwer's face with hard right jab for the first three rounds. Bruwer, 30, was down in thirty seconds... from a slip. Usyk landed a major left hand to the body to punctuate the victory in round one.
Usyk started to land power shots in round three and rocked his opponent with a freaky right uppercut. Bruwer did his best in rounds four and five to stay competitive against a much stronger fighter. He had even some success landing a couple of hard right hands in the fifth, but Usyk closed it with the bang, landing several multi-punch combinations of his own.
Usyk's dominance was clearly on display in rounds six and seven. He was tagging Brewer with his right hand, added jabs when necessary and also tested the South African's body. Bruwer, who was stopped just once before - by Alexander Alekseev in 2011 - took this punishment well. But with just several seconds remaining in the seventh he went in with his hands down, and Usyk capitalized on this foolish bravado, landing a picturesque right-left combo to have Brewer down in a face-fisrt mode instantly. Referee Joerg Milke chose not to issue a count and waved it off.
The Ukrainian power hitter is now 5-0, with 5 KOs, and also acquired a vacant WBO I/C interim title. he is expected to enter the next WBO ranks in search for a greater challenge.
Former European and WBA light welterweight champion Andriy Kotelnik (32-4-1, 13 KOs), one of the best Ukrainian boxers over these years, ended his career in style, outpointing Georgian journeyman Alexander Benidze (13-15-1, 6 KOs) over eight rounds with a unanimous decision.
Kotelnik had his farewell fight four years since his latest performance - a questionable loss to the WBC/IBF light welterweight champion Devon Alexander, in a fight he was thought by many to have won handily. He has previously won over undefeated fighter and future/former champions Gavin Rees and Marcos Maidana, dealing the latter his first career loss. He also suffered close and dubious losses to Junior Witter and Souleymane M'Baye, as his only clear loss was to a prime version of Amir Khan.
Unbeaten featherweight Oleg Malinovskiy (13-0, 4 KOs) got his second win this year with the third-round kayo over Gerogian traveller Georgi Gochishvili (3-4-2, 1 KO). Official time was 1:33.
Veteran welterweight Victor Plotnikov, 36, improved to 31-2, stopping previously undefeated Georgian Vladimir Janizashvili (7-1, 2 KOs) at 2:54 of the second round. Plotnikov's greatest win came a year ago with an upset TKO 1 over fellow unbeaten teammate Valery Brazhnik (30-0-1 at the time).
Eldos Sarkulov (2-0) UD 4 Oleksiy Kozlov (0-4)
Bekman Solybayev (2-0, 1 KO) TKO 2 Pavel Petrov (0-1)
Sergiy Radchenko (1-0, was making his pro debut) UD 4 Igor Pilipenko (4-18-2, 1 KO). Scores were: 40-34 (x2)