A couple of weeks ago in this series we looked at a blow out win scored by a Japanese fighter on the road. This week we actually follow up with another upset by the same fighter who again went on the road, and again picked up a big stoppage win. Unlike the last "What a Shock" however this wasn't a blow out but was an even more brutal finish.
February 3rd 2018
Bolshoy Ice Dome, Adler, Russia
Hurricane Futa (23-7-1, 14) Vs Vage Sarukhanyan (17-1-1-1, 4)
Of course two weeks ago we looked at Hurricane Futa's win over Will Tomlinson. That was a massive upset of a fringe world level contender, and came in a "blink and you miss it" fight. The entire bout lasted just 40 seconds, and essentially ended when Futa landed the first shot of any value, sending Tomlinson down for the count. Sadly for Futa he was unable to build on that win originally, losing to Ernie Sanchez in 2017, with Futa on the wrong end of an upset there. Following his loss to Sanchez we saw Futa pick up an easy win before travelling off to Russia to face the then rising Vage Sarukhanyan.
Aged 30 at this point Futa had little on his record other than the win over Tomlinson. He had been stopped by Sanchez and was 5-4 in his last 9 and 6-5 in his previous 11. He was expected to just lose against the once beaten Sarukhanyan.
Whilst Sarukhanyan wasn't too well known he was a rising hopeful in Russia. He was a skilled fighter who's only set backs, a draw and a loss, had come against Igor Ivanov, with the draw being a technical draw on the basis of rainfall. Following those setbacks Sarukhanyan had reeled off 9 straight wins, including victories over Rey Laspinas, Jhertiz Chavez and Gamaliel Diaz. He seemed to be on his way to some bigger and better things and had already claimed a WBC regional title.
Although not a puncher Sarukhanyan was looking like a very talented boxer, with a lot of skill and promise. At this point he was 27 and coming into his prime. He had confidence, youth, good form and home advantage. He was expected to continue his form here.
From the opening round Futa seemed happy to come out swinging but was made to look crude by the light feet of Sarukhanyan who got on his toes and looked to create distance and try to neutralise Futa. To his credit however Futa was keeping the pressure on, chasing the local fighter around the ring and making Sarukhanyan work for every inch of space he could get. It was a clear sign that Futa wasn't there to be a willing loser, but was their to advance his own career, and that he was hungry to win. He did take some solid shots, eating several very good right hands from Sarukhanyan, but he never seemed to be too buzzed by them.
Round 2 Futa's pressure seemed less intense, with Sarukhanyan managing to create space more often get off his work with fewer issues. It seemed like the intensity of the opening round took more from Futa than it did from Sarukhanyan but in round 3 Futa managed to show his power as he dropped Sarukhanyan for the bouts first knockdown. The knockdown came from what originally looked like a solid left hook, but on replay seemed to come from a solid headclash. Sarukhanyan got to his feet, and didn't look badly shaken, but was under intense pressure for the remainder of the round.
Futa continued to take the fight to Sarukhanyan in round 4, but it was the Russian who seemed to be finding his range and landing the better shots and countering the pressure of Futa. Despite the success of Sarukhanyan he wasn't able to slow the pressure of Futa, even when he pushed him over later in the round. It seemed the plan for the Russian was to counter, move, and hope Futa would tire himself out with his own pressure.
Sadly for the local fans Futa's energy reserves weren't wearing thin and he kept the pressure up, forcing Sarukhanyan to remain on the backfoot. The work wasn't always pretty from Futa but he was always pressing and always forcing the Russian fighter to work harder than he would have wanted. That began to show big time in round 6, as Sarukhanyan threw little and began to get bullied around, with Futa showing no respect at all to the Russian fighter.
The lack of respect continued in round 7 as Futa began to lower his hands, trying to get Sarukhanyan to fight with fire. The tactic worked and he drew more aggression from the Russian. It was the type of fight Futa wanted and Sarukhanyan began to fight the wrong fight. That aggression saw Sarukhanyan trying to unload when Futa ended up on the ropes, at which point Futa landed a dynamite left hook, dropping Sarukhanyan, and forcing the referee to wave off the bout.
The shot to end this was every bit as good as Futa's shot to stop Tomlinson, and helped secure him a minor WBC title. It was a brilliant shot and gave Futa his second big win on international soil.
Since this bout Sarukhanyan has bounced back well, going 3-0-1. Sadly Futa fought only twice, beating Roy Tua Manihuruk before losing to Masayoshi Nakatani in December 2018, in an OPBF title fight. That loss to Nakatani appears to be the end for Futa who is now 33.
Note - The video for this wasn't the smoothest and it does, sadly, have some pauses of several seconds.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).