This coming weekend really is a monster weekend with more major bouts than you can shake a stick at. Unfortunately with such a busy weekend it's obvious that some fights will be forgotten, or given less respect than they perhaps deserve. One of those bouts is the IBF Featherweight title fight between defending champion Evgeny Gradovich (18-0, 9) and Belgian-Armenian challenger Alexander Miskirtchian (24-2-1, 9), the European champion and #1 ranked IBF challenger.
Gradovich is a fighter we are big fans of. In the ring he's a non-stop punching machine who throws in the region 100 punches a round, every round. He's aggressive, fun to watch, busy and the sort of fighter who makes up for his limitations in sheer bloody mindedness. And in fairness to Gradovich his limitations are few and far between with the most notable of them being that he doesn't really have major power, he hurts people when he sits on his shots but lacks truly concussive power, that is pretty much his main issue.
What Gradovich does so well is break people, both mentally and physically. He showed this in his two victories over Billy Dib and his very impressive decision victory over Mauricio Javier Munoz. These fights showed all the different facets to Gradovich who showed he could swarm, proved he could box and proved that he was improving fight after fight. If that improvement continues then there is every chance he could become one of the truly elite Featherweights.
Whilst Gradovich is a proven world class fighter with a number of world class wins Miskirtchian is a little less well known, though has proven his ability against fringe world class opponents. For him this is a step up to true world class and for many that's the hardest step a fighter can take.
So far Miskirtchian's most notable victories are over Sofiane Takoucht, who he has beaten twice, and Andreas Evensen. Both of those men are good European level fighters but their is a huge gulf between European class and world class and we feel that will be shown up here.
If Gradovich is defined by his insane work rate then Miskirtchian is probably defined by how basic he is. He's strong and looks tough but there is nothing that really looks outstanding. He comes forward behind his jab and throws huge lopping over-hand rights regularly but his jab isn't sharp or all that fast whilst his right hand appears to lack power and is slow and looping. There is nothing in the footage of Miskirtchian that makes us think wow, in fact the most impressive thing about him is that he's become the IBF #1 contender despite looking so very ordinary.
Although there must be something about Gradovich that makes him fight better than the footage suggests there is nothing that makes us feel he can really give Gradovich any sort of a test. In fact this bout is almost made for Gradovich to look good and to get his mandatory out of the way. There is little, if anything, in Miskirtchian's arsenal that will bother the Russian who will come forward, and gradually grind down the challenger.
Although this bout is the lesser of 3 Featherweight world title bouts on a card dubbed "Featherweight Fury" it is arguably going to be most exciting as Gradovich doesn't really know how to be in a boring fight. For us Nicholas Walters's bout with Vic Darchinyan looks likely to be one-sided whilst the bout between Nonito Donaire and Simpiwe Vetyeka is likely to be a very tactical affair between very capable counter-punchers. This might be a bit of a mismatch but it will be an entertaining mismatch.
(Image courtesy of EuroboxePromotion)
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.