The first of the major fights this Saturday was in Monaco as Thailand's Pigmy Kokietgym (52-7-2, 22) challenged South Africa's Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9) for the WBA Minimumweight title.
Pigmy, fighting in his second title fight, started slowly and it appeared clear that he was trying to figure out the taller, younger and faster looking champion. Unfortunately for Kokietgym he never really managed to get going and every time he had some success it was quickly neutralised by Budler who fired back every time he needed to.
The only real success Kokietgym had early on was landing counter right hands which Budler could see coming a mile away to avoid or take the sting away from the shots and a very low shot that seemed to hurt Budler more than anything else Pigmy landed.
Although he had had some limited success Kokietgym managed to pick it up in round 3 as he began to find a new gear and get to work on the champion, cutting the distance and unloading for the first time. It showed that Budler was there to be tagged and if a fighter could force him back Budler was poor on the back foot. It was clear however that Kokietgym lacked the pop needed to really force Budler back at will.
Kokietgym began round 4 as he had fought round 3 though at the end of the round an assault by Budler made him touch down. It swung the round from a 10-9 to Pigmy to a 10-8 to Budler.
The short success of Pigmy's seemed to come to a near instant end after the debatable knockdown and quickly Budler took control of the fight winning the 5th round with better boxing and aggression that seemed to begin to slow down the 32 year old Thai. From then on it was beginning to become more and more about Budler who won a competitive round 6 though began finding the body of the Thai with some notable consistency
It was the body shots of Budler that eventually dropped Pigmy in round 7, at the very end of the round. Pigmy managed to get up but the damage was done and Budler jumped on the Thai from the bell to start round 8, Budler, looking for the finish, dropped Pigmy twice more a he kept on a relentless assault that eventually saw Pigmy taking the count and concede the bout to the better fighter.
Although it was a brave effort from the Thai it was clear the fighters were in different leagues. Interestingly however this moves a possible showdown between Budler and Katsunari Takayama one step further. If Takayama can over-come Francisco Rodriguez Jr in August there seems to be plans to match the two in October, possibly in Monaco on a show very similar to this one.
Interestingly this fight was televised in the UK on Boxnation. It was their first ever fight at 105lbs and hopefully it will lead to more Minimumweight title fight being shown on the channel, hopefully including the aforementioned Takayama/Budler contest.
(Image courtesy of Golden Gloves)
Through out boxing history we've seen a fighter taking their big chance upsetting the odds with a stirring and memorable performance and it happened again this past Saturday night as likeable American Chris Algieri (20-0, 8) put on a brave and memorable effort, to defeat the all action Ruslan Provodnikov (23-3, 16) and claim the WBO Light Welterweight world title.
Like Provodnikov, who himself made his name by shocking everyone in giving Timothy Bradley an extremely tough test, it seemed being written off spurred on Algieri who really put on an upset of the year type of performance.
It seemed unlikely that Algieri was going to win going in to the fight. It seemed even more unlikely when the challenger was down twice in the opening round and was suffering from a badly swollen right eye that appeared likely to threaten an early conclusion to the bout. It seemed, at that point, that Algieri wouldn't last long under the onslaught of Provodnikov who was bringing intense pressure to the ring.
The pressure of Provodnikov continued to make the action tough but round after round it seemed the Russian was struggling with the difficult and tricky Algieri who was beginning to out work and out land Provodnikov who looked more like he was trying to land single shots rather than work his way in and pin Algieri down. It was a mistake of Provodnikov to try and knock out Algieri in every round with single bombs whilst being force fed a lovely variety of shots from Algieri who was looking better and better every round.
In the middle rounds Algieri's nose began to bleed, his eye became more swollen and his mouth seemed to begin to bleed as Provodnikov's power took it's effect on the American, even though he was struggling to land with any consistent success. It again looked like Algieri was going to be stopped if things got worse but amazing he didn't panic, he didn't worry and more notably he didn't question himself. Instead Algieri gathered his thoughts and continued to box and move, making Provodnikov look stupid as he winged in some wild looking shots.
Surprisingly, given the start, we managed to reach the final bell. Although Algieri was looking like he had been in a car crash he had made his way through the 12 rounds. With the 10-7 opening round however it seemed hard to believe that Algieri had done enough to over-come the champion, especially considering the number of very competitive rounds that seemed likely to have just helped Provodnikov secure his first defence. Amazingly however the judges managed to see Algieri was the winner of a split decision with scores of 114-112 (twice) in his favour whilst one judge managed to see Provodnikov as the winner with a score of 117-109.
Despite the wide variance of the score cards it was a bout that really could have been that wide. It was a case of scoring what you liked and Algieri's work rate, clean accurate punching and effective movement probably did deserve the decision, however a case could be made for the power of Provodnikov being enough for him to claim the close and competitive rounds that could easily have helped him retain his title.
Although Provodnikov lost his belt in a close fight we're very unlikely to see a rematch. Provodnikov made it clear after the fight that he didn't want to fight fighters like Algieri, boxers, and would instead prefer to give fans action fights with fellow brawlers. Hopefully we'll see him in such a fight next time out and maybe battles with Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana, Brandon Rios or even Yoshihiro Kamegai could be organised for a hot blooded winter brawl in a bout that could see both men gaining valuable exposure in a war.
As far Algieri he's going to be a difficult man to match and a difficult man to beat. With a tricky and busy style, a very likeable attitude, great heart and a fantastic personality he's got the potential to be a very good fighter to follow. He may not have a warriors mentality but he's made us fans with his performance tonight.
(Image courtesy of Star Boxing)
Russian boxing might not have many stars right now but it's numbers got added to earlier today when Dmitry Chudinov (13-0-2, 8) put on the best performance of his career so far and battered the previously unbeaten Patrick Nielsen (22-1, 11) in a WBA "interim" Middleweight title fight.
Chudinov, an unbeaten power puncher backed by Wladimir Hrunov and the infamous "Night Wolves" biker group looked genuinely sensational as he bullied Nielsen with his physical strength and from round 6 onwards always 1-way traffic with Nielsen getting progressively more tired round after round.
Nielsen, who took numerous looping left hooks, did his best in the later rounds to fight back but his shots, at best, were arm punches and he depended and awful lot on his long arms to keep himself safe y holding on and tying up the aggressive and popular Russian fighter who, although not technically great, seemed to just have too much of everything for Nielsen who really tired badly.
By the time we got to the final bell there was no real tension with Chudinov having controlled large chunks of the bout to take a well earned decision with scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111. Although the first card, a 7-5 card in terms of rounds, made the bout look closer there was only one winner here.
With the WBA interim title around his waist Chudinov is, theoretically, now in line for a bout with Kazakh destroyer Gennady Golovkin. Of course we know boxing nothing goes as we expect on the political side of things and instead of getting Golovkin/Chudinov we're expecting to see Chudinov making numerous defences of his belt in Russia whilst Golovkin continues to hunt big fights with opponents in the US and Monaco.
It's probably a good thing for Chiudinov that a bout with Golovkin is unlikely though we know many won't be giving the Russian much credit until he beats a real "name" at the weight. Whilst he looked great here it seems unlikely he'll be ready to beat a "name" any time soon and he, like Ukrainian Stanyslav Kashtanov, will fail to get any real acknowledgement from the boxing public until he does beat someone they know.
(Image courtesy of VK.ME)
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.