Sochi, Russia - Under the watchful eye of special guest Arthur Abraham, arguably the greatest fighter of Armenian heritage (alongside Vic Darchinyan), Aik Shakhnazaryan (25-4, 13 KOs) won a vacant Russian lightweight title by beating another Russian-Armenian in Vage Sarukhanyan (20-3-2, 4 KOs) over ten rounds with a majority decision.
This was a classic encounter between a pressure fighter (Shakhnzarayan) with mild power and a natural mover (Sarukhanyan) with a questionable chin and little power. Sarukhanyan was a very elusive target, continuously frustrating Aik with his unorthodox movement, sidestepping, body feints and a bit of a rope-a-dope technique.
Shakhnazaryan is listed 5'5 and a half at BoxRec, a half an inch taller than his foe, but Vage looked much taller, as he fought tall while Aik ducked a bit by making himself a smaller target too. Still Vage's jab was in his face during the first half of the fight. Points earned, Sarukhanyan looked to have an upper hand at the mid-point.
Continuous pressure and occasional body punching resulted in Vage's stamina dropping after the fifth. Shakhnzaryan's attacks got more successful, his punches definitely capturing Vage's attention. Sarukhanyan continued to fence well with his left hand but Aik began to walk through it more often than before.
In round eight, he landed several hard shots to force Vage backwards, and his best moment came in the ninth when Vage was momentarily rocked and forced to seek shelter in a clinch. Aik failed to get the job done but still looked better in the tenth round.
The fight was very even, and both boxers could have seen their hand raised by referee Alexander Kalinkin.
Aik "Kadj" Shakhnazaryan prevailed in an all-Armenian and all-Russian scrap with majority decision: 95-95, 97-95 and 96-94. BoxingScene saw it 96-95 - for Sarukhanyan, who asked for a rematch in an interview conducted after the fight.
Former WBC cruiserweight champion Grigory Drozd was the organizer of the event, which was formally promoted by the Rus Boxing and A Angels promotional companies and supported by the huge Armenian diaspora.