By Alexey Sukachev
“Ordnung muss sein” is being said in German. In a battle between two fighters, who have little in common and also little to do with Germany, Order was a word for Victory, as Maxim Vlasov (35-2, 18 KOs) got off the floor to stop Ismayl Sillakh (23-3, 18 KOs) in three. Vlasov went down in the opening round.
Both fighters were coming up in weight. Vlasov, 29, started his career as a middleweight but got his ground one weight class to the north, where he spent seven years between 2008 and 2015. The Russian, who is trained by famed Victor Petrochenko (coach of ex-WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog), never got his title chance, losing narrowly to Isaac Chilemba in 2011 and to reigning WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez in 2015. The lanky (6’4’’) Russian jumped into the cruiserweight division to get four wins in just half a year and to clinch #14 rank in the WBO ratings.
Sillakh, 31, nicknamed The Black Russian, was an amateur star with a record of 302-16 and several huge wins at unpaid ranks (including Badou Jack – thrice, Imre Szello, Constantin Bejenaru, Dmitry Chudinov, Yunier Dorticos, Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Chudinov among others). Sadly enough, he has failed to convert it into a story of success as a pro. Being touted as a future star, Sillakh lost his momentum in kayo losses to Denis Grachev and then Sergey Kovalev, never living up to previous aspirations.
Sillakh of Mariupol, Ukraine, has always been an early starter with very heavy hands but less-than-average chin. Oppositely, Vlasov has reputation of a modest but very durable puncher. Both qualities were on display for both fighters in a short but entertaining collision at the Kortson Club & Hotel in Moscow, Russia.
After a brief feel-out process at the beginning of round one, The Ukrainian rocked Vlasov badly with a major right hand. The Russian went down after several more shots, forcing referee Alexander Kalinkin to issue a count. His legs still very wobbly, Vlasov continued to fight on instinct, holding and clinching his opponent at times, surviving and also retaining his composure under fire.
Roles changed drastically in the second round, when Vlasov started to use his jab to keep Sillakh at bay. The Ukrainian answered by several huge blows to the liver section but the Russian weathered them and the suddenly tagged Sillakh with a huge right bomb. Sillakh immediately got wobbly, then was pinned to the ropes and was being hit throughout the remainder of the round. He was in a semi-groggy condition by the end of the round.
Early into the third, Vlasov connected with the same right hand and immediately put Sillakh on queer street. The Russian jumped onto his hapless opponent, landed several meaningful punches to the head, and forcing referee Alexander Kalinkin to put a halt at 0:32 of the round as Sillakh’s body was falling along the ropes.
Vlasov put his name into contention with his fifth win in a row since losing to Ramirez. Oppositely, Sillakh has now three kayo losses, all three of them coming against Russian fighters (Grachev, Kovalev and Vlasov). His career foggy again, the Black Russian should at least regroup (or better to reconfigure) it.
Other notable results
Magomed Madiev (7-0, 3 KOs) pounded out a unanimous eight-round decision over fight veteran Karen Avetisyan (9-13-2, 4 KOs). Madiev was pressurizing his opponent, while Avetisyan fought in spurts, despite being a huge underdog. The Russian Armenian took this bout just three days before a weigh-in
Also, Ukrainian talent Arnold Khegai improved his record to 6-0-1, 5 KOs after his opponent Francis Kimani (7-3-2, 5 KOs) of Kenya refused to continue fighting following a bell to round two.