Sometimes we expect something special and in the Cruiserweight division we do tend to get something special more often than not. Sadly this weekend's WBC Cruiserweight title fight between Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (49-3-1, 35) and Grigory Drozd (39-1, 27) really failed to live up to expectation and in many ways was one of the most frustrating bouts we've seen this year with rounds that had more holding than punches and for a number of rounds it was referee Ian John Lewis who was more active than the two fighters combined.
The fight started slowly, an expected feature of any Wlodarczyk fight where he has often been caught sleep walking through a number of early rounds with out doing much. This made it easy for the judges to have Drozd 4-0 up after 4 rounds based on what little work the Russian fighter actually did, which in all honesty wasn't a great deal though was eye catching when he let his hands go.
Having taken the first 4 rounds with relative ease Drozd added round 5 to the bank as he again out worked the Pole who was being even lazier than usual. It was frustrating to watch Wlodarczyk continue to sleep walk through fights, throwing an occasional and wild right hand that seemed more likely to hit a fan or the referee than to actually with Drozd who was surprisingly light on his toes for such a muscular fighter.
Sadly from 6 to mid-way through round 8 the bout went from frustrating boxing to a series of hugging, clinching, wrestling, spoiling and absolutely nothing resembling boxing as Drozd showed a lack of an inside game and Wlodarczyk showed a lack of desire. They were, to put it politely, some of the worse rounds we've seen this year with round 6 in particular standing out for a lack of action, a lack of punches and a lack of anything exciting. For rounds 6 and 7 to have been fought that way in a world title bout was genuinely embarrassing to the sport and it was a shame Ian John Lewis didn't do his job and warn both fighters for the holding, pushing, spoiling and general lack of action.
It was during all the holding that Drozd suffered a small cut, a replay at the start of round 8 showed the accidental nature of the cut which never threatened to end the bout. In round 8 however it was Wlodarczyk who suffered a cut from the crisp punching of Drozd. The shot that cut the Pole seemed to be a very good one and sent Drozd to a knee where he took his time to recover his senses and used his experience. From then on however there was very little from the Pole who seemed to accept his title was going to Drozd.
Drozd did picked up the pace in round 9 and seemed to have Wlodarczyk ready to go though backed off. From then on it seemed like Drozd was happy to unload his shots but never go full out for the stoppage. It wasn't so much that he was carrying Drozd but instead he seemed too scared to go for the kill, as if he had little belief in his own ability to take a shot. Whilst we wouldn't suggest Drozd was iron chinned Wlodarczyk was throwing nothing to make the Russian worry and at the end the bout petered out into a relatively clear and straight forward decision for the Russian.
Presumably this win for Drozd will set up some very interesting possibilities. He could fight unification bouts with Denis Lebedev, Marco Huck or Yoan Pablo Hernandez, he could also try to avenge his sole loss to Firat Arslan, or fight the winner of the up coming contest between Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly. We suspect however that he may take an easy voluntary before looking at a more interesting contest down the line. On the back of this victory however he will need to show more killer instinct if he's going to have a memorable reign as this was tiresome in parts, brilliant in others but overall not a memorable fight to watch.
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.