Ekaterinburg - In a two-way action-packed encounter, flamboyant Russian light heavyweight Vasily Voytsekhovsky (11-0, 6 KOs) stayed undefeated against dangerous and upset-minded fringe contender Dilmurod Satybadiev, scoring a split decision over eight hard-fought rounds.
Voytsekhovsky, 26, has his flaws, and one of them is limited experience against notable opposition. Satybaldiev, 28, has tons of experience against second-tier opposition. He jumped into a completely different level last year, and the results were mixed.
Satybaldiev scored a sensational stoppage of former two-time world title challenger Maxim Vlasov (becoming the first fighter to stop Maxim inside the distance) in the best performance of his career in May, but was then outpointed by another veteran contender Igor Mikhalkin in November.
Both fighters engaged in exchanges from round one but Voytsekhovsky was one who produced pressure and activity. Satybaldiev used smart counter-punching to frustrate his younger foe at moments but Vasily's pressure was also well felt. Voytsekhovsky's size and youth got him some edge during the first half of the fight, but Satybaldiev gradually increased his tempo after the midpoint and took initiative in some rounds. The end of the fight was mostly Satybaldiev's, but he also suffered a deducted point in the eighth round, being punished for the dangerous use of his head.
It didn't matter at the end of the day, though the decision was split in Vasiliy's favor: 78-73, 77-74 and 75-76. Russia-based Kyrgyz native Satybaldiev, who was ranked #17 by the WBC coming into this fight, drops down to a less solid 13-4, with 3 KOs. BoxingScene had it 76-75 - for Vasiliy Voytsekhovskiy.
Aging Russian heavyweight Evgeny Romanov, 37, stayed undefeated but didn't impress against little-known South African Chris "The Wolf" Thompson (12-4-1, 7 KOs), being content to get a methodical eight-round unanimous decision in a dull fight.
Thompson, 28, was energetic and active (and also bigger than Romanov) but lacked skills and punching power. Romanov, who does pack a punch, was inactive and did just enough to get much needed points. It was enough to get out of the fight without any damage and to score a wide unanimous decision over the South African. However, it wasn't enough to impress the spectators.
Romanov, who is best known for his chilling kayo of future long-time WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder in 2008, when both were amateurs. He got some solid wins as a pro too albeit mostly against degrading fighters like Dmitry Kudryashov or Sergey Lyakhovich. Time is not on his side though.
Rising Russian light welterweight prospect Khariton Agrba dominated South African national champion Prince Dlomo, 33, to the sixth-round stoppage in another impressive performance.
Agrba (11-0, 7 KOs) didn't rush the action and took his time to evaluate the opponent. Dlomo (16-12-1, 6 KOs) got some very mild success in the opening round - only to the limit Agrba allowed him to do. The Russian boxed effectively, mixing punches and hiding one powerful blow behind a series of light sticks. Agrba started to break his opponent down in round three. His punches got more and more dangerous, but Dlomo managed to sustain pressure in rounds three and four.
It got worse for the South African in the fifth round. Agrba, 27, produced another temperate combination, and then suddenly exploded with a major left cross that penetrated Dlomo's guard and put him down on his pants. Moments later, as soon as he got up, another multi-punch series of blows with an accent on a left hook, dropped Dlomo down again - this time for the count of nine. The South African jumped up right when the referee was ready to call it off. The last knockdown of round five was produced more by a push than by a punch, but the writing has already been on the wall for Dlomo.
Agrba continue the beating, and another punch put Dlomo down at the mid of the first minute of round six. The South African just waited out the count of ten on his knees and that was it. Official time of stoppage was 0:39 of the sixth. It was Dlomo's first stoppage loss in Russia in his fourth fight in the country.