By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On August 24th, at the RCC supershow in Russia, top Cruiserweight contenders clash as the 2 time IBF International champion Aleksei Papin challenges boxing veteran Ilunga Makabu for the WBC Silver title.
Aleksei Papin (11-0 / 10 KOs) before starting his career as a boxer, he cut his teeth in the world of kickboxing. As an amateur, he won the European & World championships thrice each, while as a pro he held the prestigious ISKA title, amongst other belts. In his 7 years in the sport, Papin defeated numerous top kickboxers and world champions like Danyo Ilunga, Zinedine Hameur Lain, Igor Bugaenko and many more.
As a boxer, Papin boasts a 91% KO ratio, with most of his fights have ended in less than 5 rounds. During his short time here, he has stopped 2 world title challengers, in Rogelio Omar Rossi (20-8), with a short right hook in the second, as well as Ismayl Sillah (27-6), whom he finished in just one round after landing a crisp right straight and then connecting with 2 left uppercuts, as he was going down.
He earned his 1st championship when he met with Willbeforce Shihepo (25-11) in 2018, for the vacant IBF International title. Papin imposed himself on his opponent, overwhelming him with his impressive power and speed. After a year on inactivity, he reclaimed that same belt, by knocking out Alexandru Jur (18-4). He now goes for another title against a man, who’s possibly his biggest test yet.
Ilunga Makabu (25-2 / 24 KOs) despite suffering a loss on his pro debut, he made a shift comeback and finished all of his next 13 opponents, before facing Dmytro Kucher (24-3) for the vacant WBC Silver title. Kucher was undefeated at the time at 21-0. It was a close encounter from which the Congolese fighter came out on top, after putting together some good combinations, working both the head and the body.
He marked his inaugural title defense against Eric Fields (24-4) in 2013. Makabu weakened Fields with a plethora of uppercuts and finished him off in the 5th after a vicious left hook, which has proven to be his biggest weapon in the ring.
Makabu also broke Ruben Angel Mino’s (33-9) undefeated streak (20-0 at the time) in just 2 rounds, dropping him twice, once with the uppercut and then with a snap, short ranged left hook.
After 3 more knockouts, including one over former IBF World champion Glen Johnson (54-21), Makabu squared off with Tony Bellew (30-3) with the vacant WBC World title on the line. Even though he scored a huge knockdown in the opening round, after landing a straight left hand on Bellew’s face, dropping him hard on the canvas, the British boxer regained momentum and returned the favor in the 3rd to become the new champion.
Makabu went on to win 5 fights in a row, all stoppages, and remained undefeated in 2017 & 2018. This past June, he went face to face with former WBC Silver, WBA International & world title contender Dmitry Kudryashov (23-3). Makabu weathered the early onslaught of the Russian and put him down with a thunderous left hook, connecting clean on the chin in the 2nd and almost did it again at the end of the round, weren’t it for the ropes saving Kudryashov. Both men went back and forth, in what can be considered one of the best brawls of 2019. After 5 rounds on incredible action, Kudryashov was a bloody mess, taking unanswered shots which led the referee stopping the fight and crowning Makabu a 2 time Silver champion. He now returns to action, only 2 months later, to defend his strap against a fellow champion.
Papin versus Makabu has all the elements of being a fight of the year candidate. Both men are knockout artists. Papin has finished 10 out of his 11 matches, while Makabu 24 out of his 25 victories. The Russian likes to trap his opponents against the ropes and deliver the punishment, whilst the Congolese prefers to keep it in the middle of the ring, dismantling his opposition before going for the kill. It’s also interesting to consider how Papin has made short work of the previous world title challengers he has fought, but at the same time, we have to keep in mind that Makabu has a knack of ending unbeaten streaks. Either man has the ability to end this match in the blink of an eye, especially if Makabu lands his left hook. Both have a great momentum going into this one and a win here could very well brought them close to a world title opportunity. Do not blink, because this fight won’t last long.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.