Sochi, Russia - Former cruiserweight contender Ruslan Fayfer (27-3, 18 KOs) continued his rejuvenation after two consecutive stoppage losses with his second straight first-round kayo. This time Fayfer demolished famed Brazilian MMA and boxing veteran Fabio Maldonado at 2:08 of the first.
Fayfer, 30, lost to Alexey Papin via the sixth-round TKO in the WBC final eliminator he was winning in August 2020, then was stopped again by 4-0 light heavyweight Ali Izmaylov in an unsuccessful attempt to get down in weight.
Against Maldonado, 41, Fayfer was fast and strong. He dropped the Brazilian twice and was beating him badly when referee Yuri Koptsev stepped in to stop a one-sided carnage. Maldonado (26-5, 25 KOs) lost for the fifth straight time but he was stopped just twice during this spree - by Fayfer and Michael Hunter - going the distance against fighters like Carlos Takam, Oscar Rivas and Olexander Teslenko.
Junior welterweight Vladimir Mironenko (1-0, 1 KO) stopped 41-year old no-hoper Alexander Saltykov (12-65-3, 7 KOs) at 1:53 of the first.
A rematch couldn't have gone more wronge for the 23-year old super middleweight prospect Sergey Kozhukhar (now 9-2-1, 2 KOs), who was stopped in two by his bitter rival Vasily Shtyk, allowing the latter to even his previously negative record at 3-3, with 2 KOs.
Kozhukar, who had previously beaten two undefeated fighters with relative ease, was kayoed in seven by unheralded Shtyk back in January 2021. This time Kozhukhar started confidently, beating Shtyk, 27, to the punch in the first. Kozhukar used his jab to keep Shtyk at bay for the first two minutes and produced offense during the third. He punctuated the round with several hard right hands that landed in succession.
In the second, it went through the window and out of the ring. It took Shtyk just a couple of left hooks to pin Kozhukhar to the corner, where he was finished off by two more huge left bombs by Shtyk. The referee didn't even bother to count. Time was 0:50.
Former Russian light middleweight champion Sergey Vorobiev (12-1, 8 KOs) looked vulnerable in his eight-round unanimous decision over Belarussian journeyman Dmitry Atrokhov (16-11, 7 KOs).
Both fighters weren't playing for keeps, engaging willingly in two-way exchanges. Vorobiev landed more and seemingly with greater power but Atrokhov connected with a much greater share of punches than one would expect of a fighter with seven consecutive losses, the last being dealt just two weeks ago. Atrokhov was cut over his right eye in the third but he also got Vorobiev's face reddened.
No scores were announced but BoxingScene had it 78-74 - for the Russian. Vorobiev is best known for his upset win over 34-0 Konstantin Ponomarev in 2018, his seventh professional fight.
In a foul-filled, dirty affair, that produced more clinches, holding and animosity between the contestants than real action, former multi-time European and World amateur champion Sofya Ochigava (5-0, 1 KO) outpointed Iranian Puneh "Tina" Akhundtabarmazandarani (5-3, 2 KOs) unanimously over ten.
Ochigava, 34, has wins over Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams, Natasha Jonas and Chantelle Cameron in her amateur past, but she has been competing inconsistently and rarely as a pro. Tina, also 34, was more active, less masterful but very determined and forced Ochigava to work hard for the win and to pay a price - a huge cut over Sofya's right eye.
Vyacheslav Gusev's time is ticking on, but even at 35, the Prokopyevsk native remains a force to be reckoned with. Experience alone wasn't enough for Gusev to get a win or even a draw against the undefeated lightweight Vladimir Sarukhanyan (15-0, 6 KOs) but it allowed him - together with Sarukhanyan - to produce a very solid, fan-friendly performance in a non-title eight-rounder.
Gusev produced the best punch of the first round to get Sarukhanyan's attention. Sarukhanyan replied with aggression in the subsequent rounds, but Gusev was very game and responded with counter-offense of his own. The Prokopyevsk native was able to put Sarukhanyan, 31, on the defensive in the mid rounds, suddenly becoming an aggressor. Sarukhanyan, utilizing his vast amateur background, showed solid defensive skills, quenched Gusev's onslaught and once again was dealing pressure by the ending rounds. Gusev landed his best punches at the end of the sixth but a remainder of the fight was in Russian Armenian's favor.
BoxingScene saw it 77-75 - for Vladimir Sarukhanyan. Vyacheslav Gusev, who was Russian featherweight champion almost in the other life, in 2005, is now 25-7, 8 KOs. Gusev went distance with prime versions of Juan Carlos Burgos and Gary Russell Jr. and has never been stopped.
Light welterweight Tigran Uzlyan (4-0, 2 KOs) hasn't shown his best but cruised to a workmanlike six-round unanimous decision over Russia-based Kyrgyz import Radzhabali Dzhenaliev (1-2, 1 KO). Uzlyan was very self-confident and even clowned a but but determined Dzhenaliev fought it valiantly to the end.
It took hard-hitting light heavyweight Artur Ziyatdinov (14-1, 11 KOs) far less than a round to completely overwhelm Georgian import Levani Lukhutashvili (10-9, 9 KOs) and stop him for good. Uzbekistan-born Ziyatdinov, who had been competing in Quebec for three years before being caught and trapped - as many of us - by the COVID-19 pandemics, immediately connected with several hard shots, that forced the Georgian to both form a grimace of pain and complain about an alleged rabbit punch. It was obvious the fight would go on not much longer, and Ziyatdinov soon unleashed a flurry of punches that left Lukhutashvili completely defenseless, as referee Alexander Kalinkin stepped in to save him from more punishment.
A minor upset stuck, as previously undefeated welterweight Yaroslav Bezsolov (4-1, 2 KOs) was outpointed in six by fellow compatriot Boris Shikunov (3-2-2), who has previously fought almost exclusively abroad. Shikunov took his time to adjust to his opponent, then started to outpunch and outmaneuver Bezsolov to capture the nod in later rounds with a unanimous decision.
In a battle of debutants, super middleweight Artem Ukhanov (1-0) decisioned Moscow-based Tajik Makhmadradzhab Sharipov (0-1) over four rounds.