The biggest Asian talking point was in Canada as American based Russian Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21) destroyed Ukrainian challenger Ismayl Sillakh (21-2, 17) in just 52 seconds of round 2 to defend his WBO Light Heavyweight title. Despite the quick, and incredibly brutal, finish of the bout it did look like Kovalev could be in for a hard night after a sluggish opening round Sillakh make Kovalev look slow and slow and clumsy. Fortunately the Russian moved into second gear in round 2 and from then on he did what he does best and disengaged Sillakh from his senses.
The bout with Sillakh was on the same show as Adonis Stevenson's victory over Tony Bellew. With Stevenson winning that bout it's fair to say that everyone in boxing now wants to see Kovalev against Stevenson in a battle of monstrous punchers.
Talking about big punchers, Artur Beterbiev (3-0, 3) impressed once again as he saw off the usually tough Billy Bailey (12-18, 4) in just 169 seconds. The way Beterbiev is slicing through competition at this level makes us wonder just how long his team can hold him back. His amateur experience, power and skills really don't need the typical fine tuning of a prospect turning over and he really could be stepped up. In fact his promoters may try to break the Light Heavyweight record of 10 fights to win a world title in the division, a record set by Beibut Shumenov back in January 2010.
Unfortunately it wasn't all good news in Canada as Canadian-Filipino Marc Pagcaliwangan (6-0-1, 6) was held to a draw by Octavio Hernandez (13-5-1, 6). Despite the draw Pagcaliwangan will have made some lasting fans following what was nothing less than a 6 round all action war.
Whilst the Canadian bout between Kovalev and Sillakh was the biggest talking point of the day it was far from the only world title fight of the day. The first of which came in China where China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (22-4-1, 12) dominated and then stopped Thailand's Lookrak Kiatmungmee (7-5, 4). Many will be critical of this match up though in all honesty it was a home coming for Zhong who forced to take on a late replacement opponent after a passport irregularity prevented Omari Kimweri from fighting Zhong. The Chinese fighter, who successfully defended the WBC Minimumweight title for the second time, is now expected to face either Denver Cuello for a second time or Katsunari Takayama in a unification bout.
We are aware that there were other contests on the Chinese show, though unfortunately the only result we have thus far was that India's Neeraj Goyat (1-2-2) scored his first victory courtesy of a decision over Xian Wei Qian (2-2-1). This was a genuine upset though Goyat is better than his record would indicate. He won't be India's first professional boxing superstar but he record could easily read 4-1 right now.
Yet more title action was found in the Philippines as ALA Gym put on “Pinoy Pride XXIII” which was headlined by two world title fights.
Of those two contests it was the WBO Minimumweight title defense of Merlito Sabillo (23-0-1, 12) that really caught the eye as he and Nicaraguan youngster Carlos Buitrago (27-0-1-1, 16) put on an amazing back and forth contest. Although both men may have felt they deserved the victory there was very little to separate them and a draw was the fairest result. There is now hope that 2014 will see a rematch and we certainly wouldn't mind that.
Unfortunately the drama and competitiveness of the Sabillo/Buitrago bout wasn't replicated in the WBO Light Flyweight title bout which saw Donnie Nietes (32-1-4, 18) retaining via KO in round 3. Fighting against Sammy Gutierrez (33-10-2, 23) it's fair to say that Nietes was flattered a by a shot looking Gutierrez who looked done in the first round. Thankfully this victory has likely lead us to Nietes facing Moises Fuentes in a rematch sometime in 2014. That bout, rumoured for Singapore, is one we're really looking forward to.
Alongside the world title bouts in the Philippines there were 7 other contests on the “Pinoy Pride” card. These began with under-card bouts that saw Rolly Sumalpong (2-0) defeating fellow novice Jeffrey Alejandre (1-1) via unanimous decision, Justo Bornilla (6-1-1) taking a majority decision over Diover Mangaya-ay (1-3-1), Marlon Arcilla (3-1, 1) stopping Jerwin Dela Rosa (1-4) inside a round and former world title challenger Jimrex Jaca (39-6-3, 22) also scoring an opening round victory as he defeated Wellem Reyk (17-8-3, 5).
The first of the major bouts on this show saw AJ Banal (30-2-1, 21) taking a decision over Manuel Gonzalez Garcia (16-8-2, 5). Despite the victory many felt that Banal had been given a really serious test by an opponent he was meant to defeat with ease. Unfortunately Banal now looks like a fighter who will never reach the heady heights that were once expected of him.
In the chief support bouts Milan Melindo (30-1, 12) successfully claimed the WBO International Flyweight title with a decision over former world title challenger Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (30-3, 18) and Jason Pagara (32-2, 19) retained his WBO International Light Welterweight title with a decision over Vladimir Baez (19-2-2, 17).
For Melindo this was his first bout since losing to Juan Francisco Estrada and he again showed that he has the talent to be a major player at 112lbs. Unfortunately it seems that whilst he will be a major player he lacks the power to be a long term champion in the division. It's a shame given his talent that he's not quite strong enough for the top guys at 112lbs but seems too big for 108lbs.
As well as all the action in the Orient it was actually Russia that built up the majority of the other fights with a number of Russian cards.
Of the Russian results that we have so far it was the card in Lyubertsy that interested us most. The main event on this card, which lasted just 50 seconds, saw KO artist Dmitry Kudryashov (12-0, 12) swiftly taking out Zack Mwekassa (14-4, 13) in what was, on paper a shoot out.
Whilst the main event was a “blink and you miss it” affair, the chief support was more interesting as Evgeny Chuprakov (7-0, 3) claimed the Russian Super Featherweight title with a 10th round stoppage of Alexey Shorokhov (5-7, 3). The fight, which just had 10 seconds left to run, was the first title fight in Chuprakov's career and his first contest scheduled for more than 6 rounds.
The rest of this card saw Maksym Ponomarev (9-1) out point Alexey Kovalev (2-4, 1) over 6 rounds, Romal Amanov (3-0) defeat Roman Ivanov (1-2, 1) over 4 rounds and an apparent no contest in a bout between Arkadiy Arutyunyan (3-0-0-1) and Gor Arutyunyan (0-1-0-1). Unfortunately we've no clue what happened in that final bout.
In Ekaterinburg a 3 fight show lasted just 10 rounds. The longest contest here saw Andrei Isaeu (28-4, 7) taking a 6 round decision over Suhrobjon Usmonov (4-12), with Usmonov needing to pick himself off the canvas in round 2. The other bouts saw Vasily Lepikhin (15-0, 8) stopping Alexey Varakin (28-19-3, 16) in the opening round and Dmitry Mikhaylenko (15-0, 6) stopping Bogdan Protsyshyn (7-8, 2) in round 3.
In Grozny we saw a new WBC female Super Middleweight champion crowned as the talented Nikki Adler (11-0, 6) scored her third victory over Zane Bridge (2-4-1, 1) via a decision to claim the title. On the same show Iles Kelimatov (1-0, 1) scored an opening round KO over Anton Petukhov (0-2).
The only other card we have results from was a show in Pskov which featured 5 bouts.
This shows undercard featured Alisher Ashurov (1-0) taking a split decision on debut against Shavkat Yusupov (1-3), Sergey Gorokhov (2-1, 2) taking a retirement victory over Mikhail Ryzhonkin (2-4-1, 1) and Yuri Bihoutseu (7-5-2, 5) scoring an upset victory over Andrey Knyazev (9-1, 4).
The main bouts in Pskov saw Artur Akavov (9-1, 1) stopping Marat Khuzeev (20-8-1, 8) inside a round and the talented Yuri Ramanau (23-3, 14) taking and 8 round decision over journeyman Ravil Mukhamadiyarov (10-52-2, 8).